Democrats say HR7 legislation could weaken chemical safety
15 February 2012
The House of Representatives’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act (HR7) on February 3. HR7 authorizes approximately $260 billion over five years to fund federal highway, transit, and safety programmes. It will go before the House later in the month.
Democrat Representative George Miller says DOT oversight will be less protective of workers than OSHA
Democrat members of the Committee opposed revisions they said would weaken federal safety enforcement regulations and put workers and residents where hazardous chemicals and materials are produced at risk.
They say the changes would limit the jurisdiction of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to protect workers who handle hazardous materials, by transferring regulatory power to the Department of Transportation (DOT).
Under the new version of the legislation, warnings issued about risks and control over hazardous substances would be "less protective of workers safety that those issued by OSHA," according to Reps. George Miller and Lynn Woolsey, both D-Calif.
Federal rules overseeing the handling, storing and transportation of other hazardous materials would also be weakened, they said. Those materials include "compressed gasses, flammable and combustible liquids, explosives and blasting agents, liquefied petroleum gases and anhydrous ammonia."
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