The Environmental Protection Agency's mission is in its name. But it's hard to tell whether or not the EPA is doing its job if the government refuses to release any records of its doing so.
In the summer of 2017, the Center for Biological Diversity – an organization that is passionate about the link between the well-being of humanity and the ongoing safety and diversity of all the creatures bopping around the earth – requested that the EPA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service provide them with public records on the use of a number of pesticides: chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion. Their request for information was never acknowledged.
Unwilling to take ghosting for an answer, they filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, demanding that the thousands of pages of analysis on how the pesticides' use affects wild plants and animals, be released. In a statement released by the organization earlier today, they cited the following:
The Fish and Wildlife Service had committed to releasing its analysis of that research for public comment by May 2017 and to finalize the documents by December 2017. But last year, shortly after donating $1 million to Trump's inauguration, Dow Chemical asked federal agencies not to finalize the legally required assessments that are crucial to establishing common-sense measures to reduce the pesticides' harm to endangered species.
The EPA's initial analysis of the three pesticides, released in 2016, found that 97 percent of the more than 1,800 animals and plants protected under the Endangered Species Act are likely to be harmed by malathion and chlorpyrifos. Another 78 percent are likely to be hurt by the pesticide diazinon.
Upon the completion of the EPA's analysis, the Fish and Wildlife Service was then required to complete its assessment and suggest mitigation to avoid jeopardizing the continued existence of endangered species like whooping cranes and Karner blue butterflies.
But the finalization of those assessments has stalled in the wake the request by Dow, which over the past six years has donated $11 million to congressional campaigns and political action committees. Over the same period the company has spent an additional $75 million lobbying Congress.
Gross, if true.
Image: Casey Deshong – This image is from the FEMA Photo Library., Public Domain