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

American Oversight and Environmental Working Group Seek EPA Records Showing Influence of Industry Lobbyists in Loosening Restrictions on Use of Dangerous Chemicals

Washington, DC – 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.

“Time and again, Scott Pruitt has put corporate polluters above public health concerns,” said American Oversight Senior Advisor Melanie Sloan. “He did it routinely while serving as Oklahoma Attorney General and to no one’s great surprise, he appears to be continuing the pattern at EPA. The American people deserve to know whether corporate lobbyists have been writing EPA rules for the financial benefit of their employers and we’re determined to find out.”

“The American people deserve to know the full extent of chemical industry influence at Pruitt’s EPA that produced the carefully written rules giving polluters license to continue poisoning people, including children, with cancer-causing chemicals,” said Melanie Benesh, Legislative Attorney at EWG. “The EPA is funded by taxpayers, not polluters, but Pruitt and the chemical industry lobbyist-turned EPA official, Nancy Beck treat the agency as if it’s an arm of the American Chemistry Council.”

Today, American Oversight and EWG filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the EPA seeking the release of documents and communications related to the Toxic Substances Control Act. The requests come in response to significant changes released in June altering the so-called “framework rules” that govern how the EPA will select chemicals to assess for safety and how the agency will make its safety determinations.

The Toxic Substances Control Act had previously undergone a significant 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.

Part of Investigation:

Related Blog Posts

October 29, 2020

Open Questions About Trump Administration Policies

Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, DHS - U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Environmental Protection Agency, White House
October 20, 2020

Investigations Update: Hatch Act Violations, Covid-19 Vaccine Contracts, and South Carolina Ballots

Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Justice, DOD - Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency, DOD - Department of the Army, DOD - U.S. Department of the Navy, DOI - Fish and Wildlife Service, DOI - National Park Service, DOJ - Office of Legal Counsel, HHS - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, North Carolina, North Carolina House of Representatives, North Carolina Senate, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Pennsylvania Senate, South Carolina - Georgetown County, South Carolina - Richland County, South Carolina Election Committee, Treasury - Comptroller of the Currency, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Senate
September 14, 2020

Covid-19 Oversight News: Scientific Integrity Concerns and Anti-Immigration Opportunism

September 14, 2020

Rick Perry’s Energy Industry Connections and the Trump Administration’s Ukraine Policy

Department of Energy
July 14, 2020

Investigations Update: Militarization of Police, Covid-19 in Migrant Detention Centers, and Barr’s Political Interference

Central Intelligence Agency, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Justice, DHS - Transportation Security Administration, DOD - Defense Logistics Agency, DOJ - Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, DOJ - Office of Legal Counsel, Florida - Palm Beach County, General Services Administration
June 19, 2020

News Roundup: The Administration’s Failure to Confront Two National Crises

Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of the Treasury, Department of Transportation, DHS - Immigration and Customs Enforcement, DHS - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, DOJ - Civil Division, DOJ - Civil Rights Division, DOT Office of Inspector General, Florida - Jacksonville Mayor’s Office, Florida Department of Health, Florida Office of the Governor, HHS - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Credit Union Administration, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Small Business Administration, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Treasury - Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, United States Postal Service, White House - Office of Science and Technology Policy, Wisconsin Department of Health Services
May 22, 2020

News Roundup: One Firing, Multiple Scandals

Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of the Interior, DOD - Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency, DOJ - Federal Bureau of Investigation, Environmental Protection Agency, Georgia - Athens-Clarke County, Georgia - Cobb County, Georgia - Gwinnett County, Georgia Department of Administrative Services, Georgia Department of Corrections, Georgia Secretary of State, Office of Personnel Management, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Small Business Administration, State Office of the Inspector General, Texas - Bexar County, Texas - Dallas County, Texas - Harris County, Texas - Travis County, Texas - Webb County, Texas Department of State Health Services, U.S. Agency for International Development, White House - Office of Management and Budget, White House - Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
May 15, 2020

News Roundup: The Subversion of Justice at the Justice Department

Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Justice, Department of the Interior, Department of the Treasury, Department of Transportation, Department of Veterans Affairs, DHS - U.S. Customs and Border Protection, DOJ - Office of Legal Counsel, DOT - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Georgia - Cobb County, Georgia - Gwinnett County, Georgia Department of Corrections, HHS - Food and Drug Administration, Louisiana - New Orleans Mayor's Office, Louisiana Department of Health, Louisiana Office of the Governor, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York City Office of the Mayor, New York Office of the Governor, New York State Department of Health, Small Business Administration, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, United States Postal Service, White House - Office of Management and Budget, Wisconsin Elections Commission
May 8, 2020

News Roundup: Who Will Watch the Inspectors General?

Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of the Treasury, DHS - Immigration and Customs Enforcement, DHS - United States Coast Guard, DOD - Department of the Air Force, DOD - Department of the Army, DOD - U.S. Department of the Navy, DOD - U.S. Marine Corps, DOJ - Civil Division, DOJ - Criminal Division, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Election Commission, Georgia - Troup County, Georgia Attorney General, Georgia Department of Administrative Services, Georgia Secretary of State, HHS - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Treasury - Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Agency for International Development, White House - Office of Management and Budget
April 10, 2020

News Roundup: Corruption and Coronavirus

Commerce - Census Bureau, Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Department of the Treasury, DHS - Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS - U.S. Customs and Border Protection, DHS - United States Secret Service, DOD - U.S. Department of the Navy, DOJ - Executive Office for Immigration Review, DOJ - Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, DOJ - Justice Management Division, DOJ - Office of Information Policy, DOJ - Office of Legal Counsel, HHS - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HHS - Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services, HHS - Food and Drug Administration, HHS - Indian Health Service, Nevada Department of Administration, Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, U.S. Agency for International Development
March 27, 2020

News Roundup: Transparency and Oversight Are More Important Than Ever

Department of Commerce, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of the Treasury, DHS - Immigration and Customs Enforcement, DHS - U.S. Customs and Border Protection, DOJ - Executive Office for Immigration Review, DOJ - Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, DOJ - National Security Division, DOJ - U.S. Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Election Commission, Florida Attorney General, Florida Department of State, Florida Office of the Governor, General Services Administration, Georgia - Bartow County, Georgia - Cobb County, Georgia - DeKalb County, Georgia - Fulton County, Georgia - Gwinnett County, Georgia Office of the Governor, Georgia Secretary of State, HHS - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HHS - Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services, Office of Personnel Management, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Tennessee Valley Authority, Texas Attorney General, Texas Office of the Governor, Texas Secretary of State, White House - Office of Management and Budget, White House - Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
March 16, 2020

Energy Department Releases Records from Rick Perry’s May 2019 Trip to Ukraine

Department of Energy
February 28, 2020

News Roundup: Launching Our Investigation of Trump’s Authoritarian Purges

Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Department of State, DOD - National Security Agency, DOI - Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, DOJ - Federal Bureau of Investigation, Florida - Hillsborough County, Florida - Leon County, Florida Department of State, HHS - Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services, Office of the Director of National Intelligence
February 21, 2020

New Lawsuit Seeks Records of Mitch McConnell’s Influence at Transportation, Energy, State Departments

Department of Energy, Department of State, Department of Transportation
February 20, 2020

American Oversight Sues for Communications of Two Top Interior Department Officials

Department of the Interior, DOI - Bureau of Land Management
February 14, 2020

News Roundup: Trump Has Learned His ‘Lesson’

Central Intelligence Agency, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of the Treasury, Department of Transportation, DOJ - Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, DOJ - Office of Information Policy, Federal Reserve, Florida House of Representatives, Florida Senate, Georgia - Cobb County, Georgia - DeKalb County, Georgia - Fulton County, Georgia - Gwinnett County, Georgia Secretary of State, HHS - Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services, Kentucky Office of the Governor, U.S. Election Assistance Commission, Wisconsin Senate, Wisconsin State Assembly
February 7, 2020

News Roundup: Acquittal Isn’t the End

Department of Energy, Department of Justice, Department of State, Florida Department of State, Georgia - Cobb County, Georgia - DeKalb County, Georgia - Fulton County, Georgia - Gwinnett County, Georgia Secretary of State, White House - Office of Management and Budget
February 4, 2020

Energy Department Releases New Batch of Ukraine Documents

Department of Energy
January 28, 2020

Energy Department Releases Ukraine Documents to American Oversight

Department of Energy
January 24, 2020

News Roundup: Evidence of Obstruction

Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of Transportation, DOT - Federal Aviation Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Communications Commission, Georgia - Clayton County, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Tennessee Valley Authority, Texas Attorney General, Texas Office of the Governor, Texas Secretary of State, Texas Senate, White House - Office of Management and Budget
January 23, 2020

In the Documents: How the 2018-2019 Government Shutdown Affected Federal Science Agencies

Commerce - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security, Department of the Interior, Department of Transportation, DHS - Federal Emergency Management Agency, DOI - U.S. Geological Survey, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
January 17, 2020

News Roundup: The Evidence Continues to Mount

Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Justice, Department of State, Environmental Protection Agency, Georgia - Clayton County, Georgia - Hancock County, Georgia - Jefferson County, HHS - Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services
January 13, 2020

Energy Department Agrees to Release Ukraine Documents This Month

Department of Energy
January 3, 2020

In the Documents: New Information on Scott Pruitt’s Fleet of Luxury SUVs

Environmental Protection Agency
December 20, 2019

News Roundup: Beyond Impeachment — The Investigations Continue

Congress, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of the Interior, Department of Transportation, DHS - Immigration and Customs Enforcement, DHS - U.S. Customs and Border Protection, DOL - Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, Federal Communications Commission, Government Accountability Office, HHS - Administration for Children and Families, HHS - Food and Drug Administration, White House - Office of Management and Budget
December 13, 2019

News Roundup: Stephen Miller’s Extremist Network

Congress, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Department of the Interior, Department of the Treasury, DHS - Immigration and Customs Enforcement, DOI - Bureau of Land Management, DOI - Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Environmental Protection Agency, Georgia - Carroll County, Texas Attorney General, Treasury - Office of Foreign Assets Control, White House - Office of Management and Budget
November 15, 2019

News Roundup: Impeachment Inquiry Goes Public

Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Department of Veterans Affairs, Florida House of Representatives, Georgia - Bartow County, Georgia - Carroll County, Georgia - Decatur County, Georgia - Lowndes County, Georgia - Paulding County, Georgia Secretary of State, HHS - Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services, Texas - Dallas County, Texas - Harris County, Texas - Travis County, White House - Council on Environmental Quality
November 14, 2019

How ‘Sharpiegate’ Turned a Simple Misunderstanding into a Media Frenzy — and Headache for NOAA Employees

Commerce - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce
November 8, 2019

News Roundup: Ukraine-Related Documents, Hurdles for Asylum-Seekers, and Chad Wolf’s Involvement in Family Separation

Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of the Interior, DOJ - Office of Information Policy, DOJ - Office of Legal Counsel, Environmental Protection Agency, Florida Office of the Governor, White House - Office of Management and Budget
November 1, 2019

News Roundup: Impeachment Votes and Sonny Perdue’s Georgia Connections

Department of Agriculture, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of the Interior, DHS - Immigration and Customs Enforcement, DOI - National Park Service
October 31, 2019

In the Documents: Interior Department Officials Arranging VIP Tours for Trump Administration Figures and Allies

Department of the Interior, DOI - National Park Service
October 11, 2019

News Roundup: Impeachment, Obstruction, and More Questions about Rick Perry

Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, DHS - U.S. Customs and Border Protection, HHS - Administration for Children and Families, HHS - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
October 4, 2019

News Roundup: The Public Needs Answers

Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Department of State
September 27, 2019

Using FOIA to Fight Trump Administration Obstruction

Department of the Interior, DOI - Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
June 25, 2019

Lawsuit Seeks Records of Trump Family Influence over Minnesota Mining Project

Department of Agriculture, Department of the Interior, DOI - Bureau of Land Management, USDA - United States Forest Service
March 29, 2019

News Roundup: The Mueller Investigation Is Over, But the Swamp Is Thriving

March 25, 2019

The Corruption Continues: Mueller Has Finished His Work. American Oversight Has Not.

December 12, 2018

Audit the Wall: No Plans, Funding or Timeline — And No Wall

Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, DHS - U.S. Customs and Border Protection
April 17, 2018

Lawsuit Seeks Scott Pruitt and Nino Perrotta Travel and Security Spending Records

Environmental Protection Agency
April 6, 2018

New: EPA Documents Show Details of Pruitt Office Renovations

Environmental Protection Agency
March 16, 2018

Sunshine Week Blog: FOIAs Will Continue Until Accountability Improves

December 20, 2017

Update: EPA IG Refuses to Investigate Controversial Contract

Environmental Protection Agency
December 1, 2017

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

Environmental Protection Agency
November 16, 2017

American Oversight and EWG Seek Records of Industry Influence at Department of Energy

Department of Energy
October 5, 2017

Lawsuit Seeks Records of Lolita Zinke’s Travel, Role at Department of the Interior

Department of the Interior
October 3, 2017

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s Calendars Show Deep Industry Connections

Environmental Protection Agency
September 29, 2017

“Serious, Likely Irreparable” Damage from Border Wall

Department of the Interior
September 7, 2017

Investigating EPA’s Attacks on a Journalist

Environmental Protection Agency
August 28, 2017

Statement on EPA IG Investigation of Pruitt Travel

Environmental Protection Agency
August 1, 2017

Statement on Waiver of Environmental Regulations for Border Wall

July 27, 2017

Call for OSC Investigation of Pruitt Travel to Oklahoma

Environmental Protection Agency
June 27, 2017

American Oversight Sues EPA to Release Pruitt’s Calendars and Communications with Carl Icahn

Environmental Protection Agency
June 22, 2017

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

Environmental Protection Agency
June 16, 2017

Watchdog Group Files Lawsuit on Trump Border Wall

Department of Homeland Security, Department of the Interior, DHS - U.S. Customs and Border Protection, White House - Office of Management and Budget
April 12, 2017

American Oversight and Environmental Working Group Demand Release of Pruitt Communications with Pesticide Industry

Environmental Protection Agency
April 4, 2017

10 Questions about the Border Wall that Deserve Big, Beautiful Answers

Department of Homeland Security, Department of the Interior, DHS - U.S. Customs and Border Protection
March 28, 2017

Statement on Trump Administration Proposal to Build Border Wall South of Rio Grande

Department of the Interior
March 24, 2017

American Oversight Launches Investigation of President Trump’s Border Wall

Department of Homeland Security