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: