EPA’s Chemical Industry Agenda

Under Administrator Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency has 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, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt decided to overrule the agency’s scientists and allow the continued use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos.

Last year, 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 to reverse the EPA’s previous findings on chlorpyrifos – coming less than two months after Pruitt took over the agency – raised questions about whether he again received policy direction from an industry group.

Weakening the Toxic Substances Control Act

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

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

The Appointment of Michael Dourson

President Trump nominated Michael Dourson to be the Assistant Administrator of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention at the EPA. Dourson previously headed a laboratory that performed and reviewed chemical safety studies on behalf of the chemical industry, and this appointment raises many questions about whether or not Dourson will use his new position to benefit his old clients. This appointment aligns with Pruitt’s continuing shift toward prioritizing the interests of the chemical and energy industries over the safety of the American public.

Updates

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.

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

June 22, 2017
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.
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