Wednesday, February 23, 2005

t r u t h o u t - EPA Broke Law Making Secret Deals with Industry

t r u t h o u t - EPA Broke Law Making Secret Deals with Industry:

" 'The EPA's secret, backroom deals with pesticide makers are clearly against the law, and they're a threat to our health,' said NRDC attorney Aaron Colangelo. 'EPA is required to make independent decisions on pesticide safety, instead of negotiating deals with the chemical industry.'

According to government records obtained by NRDC through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, EPA officials met secretly more than 40 times with representatives from atrazine's main manufacturer, Syngenta, while the agency was evaluating the weed-killer's toxicity. Ultimately the agency agreed to allow atrazine to stay on the market even though the chemical has contaminated drinking water sources across the country. (See January 2004 NRDC backgrounder for more information.) The EPA also has been involved in private negotiations with the chemical company Amvac over the status of the insecticide DDVP (dichlorvos), which it sells under a number of trade names, including 'No-Pest Strips.' These negotiations violate EPA's regulations and federal law, specifically the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, the Federal Advisory Committee Act, and the Freedom of Information Act, according to NRDC's lawsuit.

'These deals are bad for public health, bad for the environment, and bad for democracy,' said Erik D. Olson, an NRDC senior attorney. Olson noted that more than 20 years ago NRDC sued the agency for similar widespread violations committed under EPA Administrator Ann Gorsuch. After Gorsuch and other EPA officials resigned amid allegations of improper industry influence, William Ruckelshaus replaced Gorsuch and settled NRDC's case in 1984, agreeing to strict regulations that forbid secret meetings and private deal-making. 'EPA apparently is back to its old bad habits,' Olson said."

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