The Dow Chemical Company recently donated $1 million to Trump’s 2020 election campaign, but that donation comes with strings attached. Dow wants the Trump administration to ignore a study conducted by federal scientists, who state that a family of widely used pesticides are extremely harmful to an estimated 1,800 critically threatened or endangered species.
Andrew N. Liveris, the CEO and Chairman of the Dow Chemical Company, is a close friend of Donald Trump’s so it should come as no surprise that favors are being done behind closed doors.
According to the Associated Press, lawyers representing Dow and two other manufacturers of organophosphates sent letters to three of Trump’s Cabinet agencies. In those letters, the lawyers requested that the Trump administration “set aside” the results of government studies because the companies claim the studies are “flawed.”
The Associated Press was able to get copies of these letters which can be viewed here.
Chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion are a group of pesticides that are the financial backbone of Dow Chemical. Reportedly, the company sells an estimated 5 million pounds chlorpyrifos in the U.S. each year.
Now, usually the EPA would step in to protect the endangered species, but luckily for Dow, the EPA is now being run by Scott Pruitt, a climate change skeptic. Last week Pruitt stated that he would reverse “an Obama-era effort to bar the use of Dow’s chlorpyrifos pesticide on food after recent peer-reviewed studies found that even tiny levels of exposure could hinder the development of children’s brains.”
Over a period of four years, government scientists have compiled an official record containing more than 10,000 pages that indicate the three pesticides, under review, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion pose a great risk to nearly every endangered species that were studied. Regulators at the three federal agencies, which share responsibilities for enforcing the Endangered Species Act, are close to issuing findings of their own, which could result in new limits being set as to how and where the chemicals can be used.
“We have had no meetings with Dow on this topic and we are reviewing petitions as they come in, giving careful consideration to sound science and good policymaking,” said J.P. Freire, EPA’s associate administrator for public affairs. “The administrator is committed to listening to stakeholders affected by EPA’s regulations, while also reviewing past decisions.”
The EPA’s recent biological evaluation of chlorpyrifos found the pesticide is “likely to adversely affect 1,778 of the 1,835 animals and plants accessed as part of its study, including critically endangered or threatened species of frogs, fish, birds, and mammals. Similar results were shown for malathion and diazinon.”
In a statement, Dow stated that its lawyers asked for the EPA’s biological assessment to be withdrawn because its “scientific basis was not reliable.”
“Dow AgroSciences is committed to the production and marketing of products that will help American farmers feed the world, and do so with full respect for human health and the environment, including endangered and threatened species,” the statement said. “These letters, and the detailed scientific analyses that support them demonstrate that commitment.”
With Liveris being so close to Trump and spending $13.6 million on lobbying last year you can see why the chemical company thinks that despite proof of the dangers of their products they are in the clear.
Dow has donated $1 million to underwrite Trump’s inaugural festivities, but it is quite evident that the real reason for the check is to curry favors from the administration.