Dow Chemical CEO, Andrew Liveris is a close advisor and good friend to President Trump, and the company wrote a $1 million check to help underwrite his inaugural festivities. Liveris is also the head of a White House manufacturing working group.
Additionally, DOW Chemical wields a great deal of political power, having spent over $13.6 million on lobbying in 2016, according to Business Insider.
According to the Associated Press
, Lawyers for DOW and two other pesticide manufacturers of organophosphates sent letters to heads of three federal agencies on April 13, asking them to "set aside" the results of studies by government scientists that they say are "fundamentally flawed."
Perhaps the move by pesticide manufacturers is to be expected because last month, EPA head, Scott Pruitt announced he was reversing the Obama-era order that would bar the use of Dow's chlorpyrifos pesticide on food crops, even though studies found that even a small amount of exposure could affect the development of children's brains.
Over six million pounds of chlorpyrifos are used on American farms every year, 25 percent of it in California, reported Digital Journal
in 2015. The EPA banned home use of chlorpyrifos in 2000 and placed "no-spray" buffer zones around sensitive sites, such as schools, in 2012. From 2001 through 2011, 136 people reported being exposed and sickened by the pesticide, in 35 separate incidents in California.
When Pruitt was attorney General of Oklahoma, he spent millions of dollars of the state's money filing dozens of lawsuits trying to overturn the very same regulations he is charged with enforcing, however, he has always aligned himself with the executives of big corporations in any legal disputes, and in this case, he is putting chemical manufacturers before the health of people and wildlife.
When asked by the AP, a spokesperson for the EPA said that Pruitt won't "prejudge" any potential rule-making decisions as "we are trying to restore regulatory sanity to EPA's work."
Three highly toxic pesticides, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion, have garnered over 10,000 pages of scientific studies by federal scientists, indicating they are harmful to nearly every endangered species studied. The three federal agencies, the EPA, Department of Commerce and the Department of the Interior, all share a responsibility in enforcing the Endangered Species Act.
"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."
In a statement, the DOW subsidiary that sells chlorpyrifos said: "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. These letters, and the detailed scientific analyses that support them demonstrate that commitment."
By the way, Liveris was at Trump's side when he signed an executive order in February authorizing the formation of agency task forces to roll back regulations. "Andrew, I would like to thank you for initially getting the group together and for the fantastic job you've done," Trump said as he signed the order during an Oval Office ceremony. Trump then handed the pen to Liveris as a souvenir.