American Oversight and Environmental Working Group Challenge EPA Over Failure to Release Pesticide Records

Lawsuit Follows Decision by Pruitt to Permit Use of Potentially Dangerous Neurotoxic Pesticide Chlorpyrifos Against Recommendations of EPA Scientists

Washington, DC – American Oversight today filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to force the release of documents and communications regarding Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision on March 29th to overrule Agency scientists and permit the continued use of the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos. This lawsuit is part of an ongoing investigation by American Oversight and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) into this decision.

“Time and again, Scott Pruitt has been shown to be squarely in the pocket of the industries he’s supposed to regulate, both as Oklahoma Attorney General, and now at the EPA. His decision to allow the use of chlorpyrifos, despite the scientific consensus, including among EPA experts, that it’s harmful shows clearly that his priority is helping his friends at big chemical companies and not the safety of our children,” said American Oversight Executive Director Austin Evers. “American Oversight is suing to get to the bottom of this, and uncover how and why Administrator Pruitt made this questionable decision.”

“Chlorpyrifos is a potent neurotoxic pesticide linked to serious health risks—even brain damage—especially to children,” said Melanie Benesh, Legislative Attorney for EWG. “That’s why so many public health advocates were shocked when the EPA abruptly reversed course and decided to allow this dangerous pesticide to remain on the market. EPA should swiftly respond to our information request so that public can know exactly what led them to make this decision.”

The lawsuit filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeks to enforce American Oversight’s April 11, 2017 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the EPA seeking the release of communications between administration officials and pesticide manufacturers as well as groups that have advocated for the continued use of chlorpyrifos.

The FOIA request specifically asks for communications with Dow Chemical, DowAgrosciences, CropLife and think tanks including the Heritage Foundation. Given a lack of adequate response by the EPA, American Oversight today is filing suit in the District Court for District of Columbia to force the administration to comply with the law.

In 2016, EPA scientists concluded that chlorpyrifos posed a serious health risks, particularly among children. While chlorpyrifos has been banned from most household uses for two decades, approximately 40,000 farms still use the pesticide on 50 different types of crops.

 

Part of Investigation:

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