When the chemical industry lobbies the Maine Legislature, truth is often the first victim. As a member of the Maine House of Representatives, sitting on the Natural Resources Committee for the last seven years, I’ve seen the facts spun until they’re dizzy.

So I was surprised to see Rep. Amy Volk of Scarborough rush to the defense of the chemical companies in a Maine Voices column that appeared in this newspaper on Oct. 3.

Her column was simply wrong on the facts. Under the Kids Safe Products Act, the Department of Environmental Protection never had any power to ban anything. That authority rests exclusively with the Legislature. When the Environmental Health Strategy Center complained that deadlines for enforcing the law weren’t being met, Volk asserted that the complaint was just false rhetoric.

In fact, the DEP did miss a July 1 deadline, just as the group had claimed. In truth, certain manufacturers did not meet compliance deadlines. Nothing false or rhetorical about it.

In fairness to the LePage administration, it is my opinion that the delays and missed deadlines were reasonable under the circumstances faced by DEP at the time. I am not persuaded that the administration is intentionally foot-dragging.

But let’s also cut the environmental groups some slack. If they are overly suspicious about the administration’s zeal in enforcing the law, it might be because the governor originally proposed to repeal the first outcome of that law: the phaseout of the chemical Bisphenol-A from children’s products such as sippy cups.

And, finally, let’s cut the governor some slack. Presumably, his understanding of the law has come a long way since last February, when he said about BPA: “Worst case is some women may have little beards.”


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