New EPA head Scott Pruit poised to challenge ‘politics driven’ farm chemical regulations

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[Editor’s note: Henry Miller is a physician and molecular biologist, and was the founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology.] 

Scott Pruitt…has promised to end the pernicious practice known as “sue and settle” that occurs when a federal agency invites a lawsuit from an ideologically sympathetic activist group — sometimes one to which it has given grants — and then quickly settles on terms that both the agency and activists like.

Sue and settle is a strategy that circumvents both congressional intent and the rulemaking process. The EPA has used it repeatedly.

There’s another category of regulatory reform that needs attention — regulations in the works driven by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are not based on science.

A case in point is the EPA’s proposed ban of chlorpyrifos, a popular insecticide that farmers have been using for decades. An EPA ban would fly in the face of the judgments of more than 100 countries — including Canada, the U.K., Japan and Australia.

So why is the EPA an outlier? …The Natural Resources Defense Council, Pesticide Action Network and other anti-pesticide groups have waged war on chlorpyrifos for 20 years. Finally, they persuaded the notoriously NGO-friendly, San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to order EPA to move forward on consideration of a ban.

The Trump administration should block this unwarranted ban and thereby send a message to all the entrenched regulators in Washington that the days of policies based on NGO-driven, bad science are over.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: NGO-driven EPA regulations based on bad science need reform

  • Bill Pilacinski

    An additional problem with EPA is not what they do but how they do. Those of us who have made submissions for genetically engineered crops dread it if we have a PIP (plant incorporated pesticide) because we have to submit to EPA in addition to USDA and FDA. The EPA process is designed to make an approval as difficult as possible. Every document must be submitted according to an exactly defined structure and process (86-5). The first review they do is simply to determine if you have exactly followed this structure and process – no matter if all the data and information is there and clearly presented. If not, it is kicked back; you must re-submit and the “clock” is re-started. And beware of that clock (the time of review): Every question stops the clock, which is not re-started until you answer the question, again in the defined manner. One would think, if the agency was truly concerned with the environment and with the value of the GE technology so obvious after 20+ yrs, the approval process could be made a bit more consistent with that of the other agencies.