The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Tierra Curry, Center for
Biological Diversity, (928) 522-3681

Siddiqui Nomination as Chief Agricultural Negotiator in U.S. Trade Office Opposed by Center for Biological Diversity


Because of his
loyalty to the pesticide and biotech industry, the Center for
Biological Diversity opposes the nomination of Islam Siddiqui as
chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the United States
Trade Representative. Dr. Siddiqui is a former pesticide lobbyist
and is currently vice president of science and regulatory affairs at
CropLife America, a biotech and pesticide trade group that lobbies
to weaken environmental laws. The Center joins more than 80
environmental, small-farm, and organic groups that are asking the
Senate to reject Siddiqui's nomination.

"After Dr. Siddiqui has worked for eight
years to promote Big Agribusiness corporations such as Monsanto,
DuPont, and Dow Chemical, it is undeniable that he is biased towards
chemical and energy-intensive agricultural practices that undermine
global food security, contribute to climate change, and imperil
public health and wildlife" said Tierra Curry, biologist at the
Center for Biological Diversity.

While at the USDA, Siddiqui oversaw the
development of the first national organic labeling standards, which
allowed sewage sludge-fertilized, genetically modified, and
irradiated food to be labeled as organic before public outcry forced
more stringent standards. The chief agricultural negotiator works in
the U.S. trade representative's office on issues concerning U.S.
farm exports. Siddiqui has derided the European Union's ban on
hormone-treated beef and has vowed to pressure the European Union to
accept more genetically modified crops.

CropLife America, formerly known as the
National Agricultural Chemicals Association, lobbies to weaken the
Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, claiming that
pesticides are not pollutants because of their intended beneficial
effect and that pesticides positively impact endangered species. The
group has lobbied to allow pesticides to be tested on children and
to allow the continued use of persistent organic pollutants and
ozone-depleting chemicals. It also launched a petition asking
Michelle Obama to use pesticides in the organic White House garden
and fought county initiatives in California banning genetically
modified foods.

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

(520) 623-5252