Preempting the Public Interest: How TTIP will Limit US States’ Public Health and Environmental Protections (Sep 2015)

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Preempting the Public Interest: How TTIP Will Limit US States’ Public Health and Environmental Protections details how EU proposals for the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would usurp US states’ authority to regulate toxic chemicals. These proposals would not only curtail states’ efforts to protect the public from toxic exposure, but also threaten any State regulations in the public interest that exceed federal standards.

State regulations that go beyond the woefully inadequate US Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) have been critical to protect public health and the environment from toxic exposure over the past three decades in the United States. Pending bills to reform TSCA in the US Congress – bills which are championed by the chemical industry – would dramatically preempt state authority on toxic chemicals. According to the new report, TTIP would go beyond these proposals, further eroding US state authority.

TTIP stands to be the largest bilateral trade agreement in history, with chemical manufacturers poised to be its second-largest beneficiary. TTIP’s primary objective is to reduce regulatory differences between the EU and the US, a goal that threatens a downward harmonization of standards to the lowest common denominator. According to the CIEL report, regulatory convergence is only possible by preventing US states from adopting health and environmental regulations that go beyond US federal standards.

If adopted, TTIP proposals would dramatically impair the effectiveness of health and environmental protections across the US and erode the authority of the US states to regulate in the public interest. Not only is this result contrary to the historic role of states as the frontline protectors of public health and safety, it will halt the innovation and responsiveness of state policy-makers to emerging technologies and health threats, leaving millions of Americans at risk.

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