EPA’s Chemical Industry Agenda

Under former Administrator Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency moved to ease regulations on the use of dangerous pesticides and other toxic substances — even overruling the agency's own scientists to advance policies favored by the chemical industry.

A joint investigation by American Oversight and the Environmental Working Group

Reversing the Ban on Chlorpyrifos

On March 29, 2017, then-Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt decided to overrule the agency’s scientists and allow the continued use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos.

In 2016, EPA scientists concluded that chlorpyrifos poses a risk of nervous system damage and birth defects in children. According to the New York Times, chlorpyrifos was banned from most household uses nearly two decades ago, but it is still used today “at about 40,000 farms on about 50 different types of crops, ranging from almonds to apples.”

The decision — which came less than two months after Pruitt took over the agency — to reverse the EPA’s previous findings on chlorpyrifos raised questions about whether Pruitt received policy direction from an industry group.

Weakening the Toxic Substances Control Act

In June 2017, the EPA altered the “framework rules” that govern how the agency  selects chemicals to assess for safety and how it makes its safety determinations under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The law had undergone a major update in 2016, and the new rules released by EPA in June 2017 were significantly weaker and less health-protective than previous versions.

The changes closely aligned with requests made by industry groups and came after Nancy Beck, a high-level employee of the American Chemistry Council, left her ACC post to join the EPA.

Updates

News Roundup: The Evidence Continues to Mount

January 17, 2020
No matter how much the administration stonewalls, new evidence in the Ukraine investigation continues to emerge. 

American Oversight and Environmental Working Group Seek Answers about Dourson’s Work at EPA

December 1, 2017
Nonpartisan watchdog American Oversight and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) announced a joint investigation to determine if controversial toxicologist Michael Dourson has violated ethics rules in his work as a top advisor to Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Watchdog Groups Launch Joint Investigation into EPA Oversight of Toxic Substances Control Act

August 30, 2017
American Oversight and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) today opened an investigation into industry influence at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its role in loosening restrictions on dangerous chemicals imposed through the Toxic Substances Control Act.
Show all updates

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