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Chemistry is essential to the West Virginia and U.S. economies and plays a vital role in driving innovations that make our world safer, more sustainable, and productive. From computer chips and medical devices to developing renewable energy and innovations to improve the environment, chemistry is the foundation for our modern world. 

The current onslaught of proposed regulations threatens the nearly 10,000 West Virginia jobs created by chemical manufacturers, and countless others the industry supports. These restrictive regulations would hinder the production and development of  chemicals in the US, forcing production offshore to international competitors, like China, who do not practice the same high safety and environmental standards.  

Today the U.S. Chemical industry is subject to over one million restrictions at the federal level, a figure that has more than doubled in the last 20 years. In a recent press conference, Chris Jahn, president of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said, “quantity doesn’t guarantee quality, and more regulation doesn’t mean better outcomes.”  Jahn is right. 

The ACC has identified more than a dozen proposed restrictions to chemical manufacturing that impose a combined cost to the U.S. economy of nearly $7 billion per year, according to federal government estimates.  Some of the proposed regulations would ban certain chemistries or regulate them at such low levels that manufacturing them would likely be impossible.  The scientific basis for these regulations and their beneficial impact on the environment are questionable at best.  It is difficult not to view these efforts as downright punitive to industry.  

Manufacturers are innovators and job creators who support responsible science-based regulations.  Policy makers and consumers must demand that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put science first.  EPA rules and regulations should and can be developed to protect health and the environment without diminishing U.S. supply chains, discouraging innovation, and sending American jobs offshore.  

Congress should insist on oversight of significant rules and regulations affecting manufacturers and push back on inappropriate EPA regulations on certain chemistries, just like the West Virginia Legislature does at the state level. Ignoring this dire situation will only block access to products and technologies that support American-made semiconductors, vehicles, energy, healthcare, infrastructure and more.