MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has vetoed a bill that would put new regulations on toxic substances and hazardous materials.
In a statement to lawmakers Monday evening, Scott said that while S. 103 aimed to protect Vermonters, existing measures are already in place to provide these protections. Scott claims the regulations would jeopardize jobs and make Vermont less competitive for business. The bill was authored in part as a response to PFOA contamination in Bennington and North Bennington.
"Vermont has among the most comprehensive regulations in the U.S. for chemicals of high concern in children's products through the requirements of Act 188 of 2014, which ensure the safety and well-being of Vermont families, while satisfying the concerns of businesses and consumers," said Scott, R-Vermont.
Scott says the 2014 law allows the Department of Health to ask manufacturers for more information about chemicals than any other state in the country. He says the bill also duplicates steps he has already taken in response to PFOA contamination in the Bennington area, including creating the Interagency Committee on Chemical Management and the Citizens Advisory Panel. Scott created those through executive order.
"There is no legitimate reason for the governor to veto a bill that would help to keep children safe from toxic chemicals," said Paul Burns, executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, which advocated for the bill. "When the choice came down to protecting kids or pleasing industry lobbyists, Gov. Scott went with the lobbyists. It's really a shameful decision."
Scott says he is open to signing a bill that codifies his executive orders into law.