Landmark California regulations under federal fire

California has a reputation for having some of the nation's most aggressive rules on workplace safety, consumer protection and environmental quality — regulations that force companies to make costly adjustments to the way they do business worldwide.

Now some of those companies, banking on congressional gridlock and sympathetic Republican leaders in the House, are fighting back. And officials in Sacramento worry that some of the state's landmark laws may be in danger.

At the top of their worry list is a measure with bipartisan support that would strengthen federal environmental laws on dangerous chemicals, but at the price of rolling back a pioneering California law that tries to protect consumers from the most toxic materials. State leaders are scrambling to fend off the bill, which they say is written so broadly that it also could undermine California's clean water laws and its effort to combat global warming.

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