U.S. PIRG supports a letter from four Energy and Commerce Committee members, who are calling for a Congressional investigation into some of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent regulatory actions on pesticides. The Congressional leaders are concerned about the EPA’s recent, questionable decisions to allow the continuing use of potentially-harmful pesticides like Roundup and chlorpyrifos.
The letter raises concerns that pesticides are not properly being regulated by the EPA. Recently, EPA expanded the use of the glyphosate (the main chemical ingredient in Roundup) in pesticide Enlist Duo, despite scientific indication of that glyphosate is a possible carcinogen. Further, court documents recently unsealed in a lawsuit over glyphosate show that Monsanto had a large, and potentially inappropriate, role in the registration process for glyphosate. Committee Democrats are concerned that similar documents may exist with respect to other pesticides, like chlorpyrifos. The EPA recently decided to continue the sale and use of chlorpyrifos on crops, despite EPA’s own scientific evidence showing that it is harmful to brain development in infants and toddlers.
In light of these decisions, the Democratic Committee leaders called for public hearings on the following questions:
- Did actions by Monsanto/CropLife America violate EPA policies or regulations?
- Documents reveal that Monsanto employees may have ghostwritten scientific papers on glyphosate. Has EPA relied on those studies in its evaluation of glyphosate? Did EPA rely on studies from that journal in its decision to deny the petition to ban chlorpyrifos?
- In 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agreed with recommendations from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that glyphosate monitoring should be done, but subsequently suspended its efforts to conduct that monitoring. Documents suggest that this decision was made under pressure from an EPA employee working with Monsanto. Did FDA and EPA violate agency policies and procedures in suspending that monitoring?
- EPA’s March 30th decision on chlorpyrifos will allow continued use of this dangerous pesticide on golf courses. Did trade associations representing the Trump Organization golf courses, or lobbyists who represent the Trump Organization, communicate with EPA, the White House, or the Trump transition team regarding the March 30 decision or chlorpyrifos in general?
The letter was signed by Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO), and Environment Subcommittee Ranking Member Paul Tonko (D-NY). The Congressional members request a reply by April 14 from Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), who will be the decision-maker as to whether or not hearings will be held.