Not many in the business community would readily call the EPA "rational." So let me be among the first. Inside EPA (subscription only) and eNewsUSA both report that the agency that brought us regulation without cost-benefit analysis has determined the EU's REACH initiative is — gasp! — too unworkable even for devoted regulators. Of course, EPA didn't use those exact words. According to eNewsUSA's blog, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson the other day told a Global Chemical Regulation Conference that while he supports the health and environmental protection goals of REACH, effective protection can be obtained through a more targeted and strategic approach to chemical assessment and management.
In other words, we can be a heck of a lot more efficient and effective through a more reasonable approach. The problem with REACH, of course, starts with its application of the "precautionary principle," where all chemicals are considered unsafe unless proven safe. This means companies registering thousands of chemicals and then awaiting their evaluation and authorization by EU bureaucrats. All at a cost of at least $10 billion, according to NEMA white paper. Rather than pitch us head-long into that blackhole, EPA plans to upgrade its own chemical regulation program and create a North American chemical management partnership with Mexico and Canada as an alternative to the ridiculously impractical REACH.
To which we say, "Bless you, EPA."