Environmental Working Group publishes voting scorecard on toxics ahead of November elections. How do your representatives rank?
“While the administration is not on the ballot this November, members of Congress who stood by or actively aided and abetted Trump’s corrupt chemical agenda will be.”
Americans Must Hold President Trump’s Toxic Comrades in Congress Accountable
While no president has ever done as much to weaken safeguards for toxic chemicals as Donald Trump, too many members of Congress have collaborated with the Trump administration or cast votes in favor of policies that reversed or delayed chemical bans, gutted chemical safety rules, rejected sound science, weakened worker and consumer protections, and denied justice to asbestos victims.
In response, EWG Action Fund has, for the first time, assembled a toxic chemical policy scorecard to track which members of Congress have consistently voted for Trump’s corrupt, pro-chemical industry agenda. More than 100 members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted every chance they got to weaken our nation’s safeguards from toxic chemicals.
In particular, these members voted to repeal existing laws that shield the public from toxic chemicals, voted to ignore sound science, and voted to place obstacles before new chemical safety protections. They voted for toxic air pollution loopholes and voted to allow toxic pesticides to be sprayed into drinking water supplies and playgrounds. They voted against amendments to protect fisheries from toxic dumping and to fully fund chemical regulators. And they voted to make it harder for asbestos-exposure victims to be properly compensated.
What’s more, many members of Congress stood by silently as Trump reversed a proposed ban of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide linked to brain damage in children; delayed proposed bans of a deadly paint-stripping chemical that has killed dozens of Americans on contact and of trichloroethylene, a chemical linked to cancer; spiked a rule to get PCBs out of schools; delayed a rule to protect farmworkers from crop chemicals; and delayed the release of Environmental Protection Agency studies about formaldehyde and perfluorinated substances.
When the Trump administration recently gutted proposed chemical safety rules and rubber-stamped hundreds of new chemicals, few members of Congress protested. Nor did many members of the Republican-controlled Congress object when the Trump administration packed federal agencies with industry lobbyists, gutted science advisory boards or prevented agencies from relying on peer-review studies.
Some members of Congress did buck their party’s leaders to vote for chemical safety. Reps. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J.; John Duncan, R-Tenn.; Walter Jones, R-N.C., and others voted to protect asbestos victims. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., voted for funding chemical reviews and against a farm bill riddled with pesticide safety loopholes. Florida Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen voted against efforts to weaken agency science. And, Illinois Republican Rep. Rodney Davis voted against toxic air pollution loopholes.
More often, though, Republican legislators cheered the Trump administration’s efforts to weaken basic worker and consumer protections. Among those are legislators like Mimi Walters (R-CA), Rod Blum (R-IA), and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) – legislators who represent districts with serious air and water quality pollution problems. Blum has led efforts to block clean water rules, calling the EPA an “out-of-control” agency. Zeldin said he is a “strong supporter” of legislation to subject all new pollution rules to congressional approval. Zeldin and fellow New Yorkers Claudia Tenney (R-NY), John Faso (R-NY), and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) recently voted for a farm bill full of pesticide safety loopholes, including a provision to block local pesticide rules for schools, parks and playgrounds.
Some legislators went even further and championed legislation to weaken our chemical safety safeguards. Among those members of Congress were:
- Rep. Jason Lewis, R-Minn. Lewis has lead efforts to block federal regulators from developing new chemical safety guidance documents. Lewis introduced H.R. 462, which could subject many agency plans to protect the public from toxic substances to congressional review, delaying or even blocking agencies from providing advice to companies implementing new chemical safety rules.
- Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas. Houston’s drinking water is polluted with contaminants linked to cancer and the city also has some of the nation’s worst air pollution. But Culberson voted for new toxic air pollution loopholes, voted to make it harder for regulators to develop tougher pollution standards and voted to repeal clean water protections. He has consistently challenged the scientific basis for climate change, saying scientists have “deliberately manipulated” the data. Culberson also co-sponsored a resolution to block new chemical plant safety rules — even though chemical plant workers in Houston are among those at the greatest risk.
- Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga. Collins introduced H.R. 26, which would create a gauntlet of duplicative hurdles for government efforts to create and enforce existing chemical safety laws. In addition, Collins led efforts to block enforcement of existing environmental laws, accusing regulators of collusion with public health groups and “back-room litigation.”
- Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas. Ratcliffe introduced H.R. 75, which would delay chemical safety rules, and H.R. 76, which would make it easier for federal judges to strike down chemical safety rules. He has also been an opponent of clean water protections. He has voted to delay or reverse chemical safety rules, reject sound science, weaken worker and consumer protections, and deny justice to asbestos victims.
- Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo. Smith is leading efforts to repeal existing chemical safety laws. Smith introduced H.R. 1155, which would create a commission to repeal current regulations, including chemical safeguards. If enacted, H.R. 1155 could lead to the repeal of dozens of rules designed to alert consumers to chemical safety risks and limit Americans’ exposures to the most dangerous chemicals. Smith also introduced H.R. 1525, which would discourage citizens from suing to enforce chemical pollution laws.
- Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif. LaMalfa has led efforts to weaken pesticide safety protections. He introduced H.R. 1891, which would allow farmers to keep using the banned pesticide methyl bromide, that not only depletes the ozone layer, but can trigger serious injuries and even death if inhaled. LaMalfa has also been an outspoken opponent of clean water rules that protect the drinking water of millions of Americans.
While the administration is not on the ballot this November, members of Congress who stood by or actively aided and abetted Trump’s corrupt chemical agenda will be.
But we don’t have to wait until election day to protect our families from Trump’s crooked and unethical chemical agenda. We can make choices right now that reduce the risks toxic chemicals pose to our health and the environment by using water filters, and by choosing green products for our homes and our bodies.