January 30, 2019

Udall, Carper Respond to EPA Withdrawing Proposal to Scrap Worker Protection Rule

Senators say legally-binding certainty is needed for these critical protections for farmworkers & children

WASHINGTONU.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, and U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, responded to news that the Trump Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has withdrawn—for now—its proposal to scrap two critical worker protections, the updated Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) and Certification of Pesticide Applicators (CPA) Rule.

Carper previously secured a commitment from EPA to withdraw its proposals to weaken or scrap these rules, which provide key safeguards for farmworkers, and particularly child farmworkers, from toxic pesticide exposures. Udall’s amendment to preserve these worker protection standards passed the Senate in June 2018, as part of a compromise to re-authorize the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA), but the Republican House failed to act in the 115th Congress.

“We must maintain these essential safeguards for the people who toil day in and day out to help put food on all of our tables – safeguards which protect almost half a million young kids working on farms from handling toxic pesticides, and guarantee farmworkers have access to safety information about the chemicals they are exposed to on the job,” said Udall. “I am relieved that the EPA has withdrawn its misguided proposal to weaken these rules, and I applaud Senator Carper for his work to secure this positive outcome. Now, there is no reason why we cannot act to provide a legally-binding solution that protects these rules and protects farmworkers. Congress should move quickly to resolve this issue and pass my worker-friendly PRIA agreement.”

“At the end of the last Congress, EPA made specific commitments to me with respect to the nomination of Alexandra Dunn, from increasing transparency about industry claims and the safety of new chemicals, to withdrawing its dangerous proposal that weakens worker protections against pesticide exposure. EPA upheld its end of the bargain on one of those many substantive policy commitments,” said Carper. “This is a positive step toward keeping these worker protections in place, and now Congress should take action to make these rules law of the land.”