Congress Just Passed a Huge Environmental Law Rules on chemicals get first update in 40 years By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Jun 8, 2016 10:03 AM CDT 43 comments Comments (Shutterstock) (Newser) – It may have gotten lost in all the election news, but a substantial piece of legislation has just managed to clear Congress: A massive overhaul of federal laws regulating chemicals sold in the US is headed to President Obama's desk for his signature—the first such update in 40 years. Some coverage: Science looks at the specific new regulatory powers granted to the EPA. The number of chemicals the EPA has issued regulations on, under the old rules: Just five. UPI explains. Bloomberg sees a related problem: The agency gets more authority to review products, but may not have the resources to follow through. Consider this line: "By the time EPA finishes work on the chemicals it has prioritized, the children of today’s children will have been exposed to them—probably for years." More on the nuts and bolts from the Washington Post, which calls it "the most sweeping environmental measure to pass Congress in a quarter-century." Of note: It has the support of both the chemical industry and many (but not all) environmental groups. Industry groups were OK with it because they prefer one federal law as opposed to a "patchwork" of different ones in states, notes the Wall Street Journal. Politico credits a "perfect storm" of circumstances for the measure (called the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act), including growing consumer concern over kids' toys and even furniture. One big opponent: Rand Paul, as a separate Washington Post story details. The environmental group EWG lays out why it doesn't think the law is strong enough here. But a New York Times editorial says it's about time this happened.