The Trump regime has flipped the purpose of the EPA, turning it into an organization whose goal is to erase environmental protections and boost the profits of polluting industries. Earlier this week the EPA went to court to make it easier for power plants to dump toxins in waterways. But even that odious task falls short of the blatant disregard for science, health, and the agency’s mission that the AP is now highlighting.
Dow Chemical is pushing the Trump administration to scrap the findings of federal scientists who point to a family of widely used pesticides as harmful to about 1,800 critically threatened or endangered species.
The chemicals in question were determined to be antibiotics in the root-sense of the word—against all living things.
The EPA's recent biological evaluation of chlorpyrifos found the pesticide is "likely to adversely affect" 1,778 of the 1,835 animals and plants accessed as part of its study, including critically endangered or threatened species of frogs, fish, birds and mammals.
Now Dow and other manufacturers of these materials have asked the Scott Pruitt EPA to simply “set aside” the results of these studies. Just as it did for a study showing that these same chemicals are also an incredible threat to farm workers. Why would Scott Pruitt so readily agree to put workers, animals, and even plants at risk?
Dow Chemical chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris is a close adviser to President Donald Trump. The company wrote a $1 million check to help underwrite Trump's inaugural festivities.
In that previous study, these chemicals were found to cause a lengthy and painful list of problems for workers and others exposed.
Late last year, and based in part on research conducted at Columbia University, E.P.A. scientists concluded that exposure to the chemical that has been in use since 1965 was potentially causing significant health consequences. They included learning and memory declines, particularly among farm workers and young children who may be exposed through drinking water and other sources.
But Scott Pruitt ignored the results of studies and recommendations of agency scientists to keep the pesticide on the market. Now he’s ready to do it again.
The industry's request comes after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced last month he was reversing an Obama-era effort to bar the use of Dow's chlorpyrifos pesticide on food after recent peer-reviewed studies found that even tiny levels of exposure could hinder the development of children's brains.
It’s exactly this sort of decision that brought Pruitt to Trump’s attention and made him the perfect candidate for changing the “P” in EPA from Protection to Persecution.
In his prior job as Oklahoma's attorney general, Pruitt often aligned himself in legal disputes with the interests of executives and corporations who supported his state campaigns. He filed more than one dozen lawsuits seeking to overturn some of the same regulations he is now charged with enforcing.
Pruitt was placed in charge of the EPA even though some of the suits he filed against environmental regulations were still in progress. Because this is a regime that keeps its friends close, and their checkbooks closer.
Dow, which spent more than $13.6 million on lobbying in 2016, has long wielded substantial political power in the nation's capital. There is no indication the chemical giant's influence has waned.
When Trump signed an executive order in February mandating the creation of task forces at federal agencies to roll back government regulations, Dow's chief executive was at Trump's side.