Public Records Sought on Dow’s Efforts to Pressure Trump Administration Over Pesticides, Endangered Species

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Public Records Sought on Dow’s Efforts to Pressure Trump Administration Over Pesticides, Endangered Species

WASHINGTON - The Center for Biological Diversity submitted Freedom of Information Act requests this week seeking public records from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Commerce to illuminate reports about how Dow Chemical is pressuring the Trump administration to abandon efforts to protect endangered species from pesticides. 

Last week Dow asked the Trump administration to scrap a nearly completed four-year effort to protect endangered species from Dow’s insecticide chlorpyrifos. In January the EPA announced that its scientists had determined the highly toxic pesticide is likely to harm 97 percent of the approximately 1,800 listed threatened and endangered animals and plants found in the United States.

“American taxpayers have a right to know exactly how Dow Chemical is profiting from the ever-deepening corporate swamp in our nation’s capital,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center. “It’s detestable that Dow and the Trump administration have so little respect for the health of our children and environment.”

Over the past six years, Dow has donated $11 million to congressional campaigns and political action committees, and has spent an additional $75 million lobbying Congress. In January 2017 Dow was one of three companies that donated $1 million to the Trump inauguration. President Trump named Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris as the head of the American Manufacturing Council in his administration. Liveris praised Trump by stating that Trump is making the United States “not a red-tape country, but a red-carpet country for America’s businesses.”

Trump, who referred to Liveris as “my friend Andrew,” gave Liveris his pen after signing the executive order mandating that agencies create so-called “regulatory reform task forces.” Several weeks ago, the EPA shocked public health advocates by abruptly scrapping a proposed ban on chlorpyrifos, which is known to cause brain damage in children.  

“Dow spent millions on congressional campaigns, the president’s coronation and lobbying Congress and now it’s looking for its payback,” said Hartl. “The disgusting backroom efforts to sidestep the Endangered Species Act are the latest proof of just how hostile Trump’s closest industry buddies are toward common-sense protections for our environment.”

In December 2016 Liveris criticized the EPA’s ground-level ozone pollution and renewable standards for utilities, while agreeing with a climate-change-denier that carbon dioxide is “an inert compound” and should not be regulated by the EPA.

During his tenure as the CEO of Dow, his company was assessed $6.5 million in fines by the EPA since 2010, including serious violations of the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Over the same time period, Dow AgroSciences — the division that manufactures pesticides — has been assessed four separate penalties for violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.  

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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.

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