State authority to regulate chemicals must be preserved as House and Senate legislators work to complete legislation updating the Toxic Substances Control Act, four state organizations said Friday.

"Over the past 30 years states have played, and continue to play, an important role in regulation where federal action has been delayed or absent,” wrote the executive directors of the National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) and Association of State and Territorial Health Officials in a letter sent to the House and Senate leadership.

 “States' chemical evaluation procedures augment the efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency under TSCA,” they wrote.

 “The ability of states to develop and impose standards pending final EPA rules on some or all of the substances addressed by TSCA should be maintained,” according to the groups.

 The House and Senate are negotiating ways they could merge the TSCA Modernization Act, which sailed through the House June 23, 2015, on a 398–1 vote, and the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which the Senate approved unanimously by voice vote Dec. 17, 2015. Prior to the vote, the Senate bill was designated S. 697, but it passed as a substitute amendment (S. Admt. 2932) to H.R. 2576.

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