Foreword: Regulating Toxic Chemicals Through Precautionary Federalism
Penn Undergraduate Law Journal, 2016, Forthcoming
11 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2016
Date Written: October 6, 2016
The allocation of authority to regulate toxic chemicals in the United States should be governed by the principle of precautionary federalism. In this context, the principle of precautionary federalism dictates that state efforts to regulate toxic chemicals more stringently than the federal government should not be preempted by federal law. If more information becomes known about the risks of certain chemicals, then a more uniform allocation of authority may become appropriate over time. This principle should generally guide Congress as it designs legal rules, and courts and agencies interpreting those rules. Thus, while the recent amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act have many positive features, Congress should have been more precautionary in its allocation of the balance of power between the federal government and the states. And the EPA, which is tasked with interpreting the scope of preemption in the first instance, as well as the courts reviewing such interpretations, should read the new law’s preemption provisions narrowly.
Keywords: precautionary principle, precautionary federalism, toxic chemicals, TSCA
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