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Opposition Mounts to Trump Nominee for Consumer Protection Agency

Consumer advocates say President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Consumer Product Safety Commission is a former chemical industry lobbyist who specializes in cutting regulations. (gustavofrazao/Adobe Stock)
Consumer advocates say President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Consumer Product Safety Commission is a former chemical industry lobbyist who specializes in cutting regulations. (gustavofrazao/Adobe Stock)

June 26, 2020

PHOENIX, Ariz. - Consumer advocates in Arizona and elsewhere are expressing concern over the Trump administration's choice to lead the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The nominee, Nancy Beck, is a longtime lobbyist for the American Chemistry Council, and has spent the past three years in Washington D.C. working to cut regulations on toxic chemicals and other potentially harmful substances.

Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director for the Arizona Public Interest Research Group, says past affiliations make her a poor choice for the consumer agency.

"Nancy Beck has worked to deregulate chemicals, not to protect people," says Mierzwinski. "She came to Washington three or four years ago and was embedded at the EPA. She has been part of the deregulatory apparatus that is trying to take away consumer and environmental protections."

White House officials point to Beck's experience, touting her Ph.D. in toxicology and more than 20 years of experience in risk assessment. Both Arizona senators, Democrat Kirsten Sinema and Republican Martha McSally, have so far declined to say how they plan to vote.

Mierzwinski says one major concern is that, if Beck is confirmed, she would serve a seven year term.

"So, how could we put a person like this in charge of the agency that not only protects all of us," says Mierzwinski, "but especially is in charge of protecting children, toddlers, and infants from hazards?"

Mierzwinski says the CPSC has a broad mandate to protect the public, but that Beck has a different agenda for dealing with the daily hazards of life.

"Those hazards include chemical hazards, which she has not done a good job of protecting against, and they also include a number of other hazards," says Mierzwinski. "So, it's essentially putting the fox in charge of a bigger hen house."

He also believes President Trump is putting corporate interests over protecting consumers.

Beck's nomination must first clear the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee before going to the full Senate.

Disclosure: Arizona PIRG Education Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Consumer Issues, Energy Policy, Urban Planning/Transportation. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mark Richardson, Public News Service - AZ