WASHINGTON, DC - In a letter sent to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, United States Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Jim Jeffords (I-VT) today expressed their concern that the Bush administration is catering to the U.S. chemical industry in its opposition to a proposed European environmental law. At issue is the European Union's (EU) legislative initiative for the Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals ("REACH"). Lautenberg and Jeffords called on Mr. Zoellick to explain in detail how the administration developed its position, what analysis it performed, and whether it allowed public health officials, labor, environmental or consumer groups to have a voice in developing the U.S. position. The Bush Administration has suggested that this new policy to encourage the use of safer chemicals in Europe may violate international trade rules overseen by the World Trade Organization (WTO). U.S. trade officials will reportedly be presenting the U.S. position on REACH at the WTO's Technical Barriers to Trade Committee meeting scheduled for July 1, 2004 in Geneva, Switzerland. The Senators wrote, "We are troubled by reports that the position of this administration on REACH may reflect the interests of a narrow segment of U.S. industry without consideration of the broader ramifications for the U.S. economy, national interest, public health, and the environment." They also requested the administration to specify, "which provisions of REACH you consider may be in conflict with provisions of the relevant WTO agreements." The EU's REACH initiative would protect public health and safety by requiring chemical manufacturers and importers to make available basic data on chemicals produced in large quantities. Information on which chemicals pose the greatest health and safety risks would allow manufactures and regulators to find safer substitutes. The letter by Senators Lautenberg and Jeffords accompanies this release.