By Katherine Paul for Organic Consumers Association – I have cancer, and I don’t want these serious issues in HED [EPA’s Health Effects Division] to go unaddressed before I go to my grave. I have done my duty.” It’s been four years since Marion Copley, a 30-year EPA toxicologist, wrote those words to her then-colleague, Jess Rowland, accusing him of conniving with Monsanto to bury the agency’s own hard scientific evidence that it is “essentially certain” that glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, causes cancer. Copley has since died. But her letter suggesting that EPA officials colluded with Monsanto to hide the truth about Monsanto’s flagship weedkiller has been given new life.
By Ronnie Cummins for Organic Consumers Organization – We’re calling on Congress to launch an official investigation into how EPA officials colluded with Monsanto. Can you help us raise $200,000 by midnight, March 31 to meet our quarterly online fundraising goal. You can donate online, by mail or by phone, details here. According to the New York Times, newly unsealed court documents reveal that former EPA official Jess Rowland let Monsanto ghostwriters write the toxicology reports that would form the basis for a government investigation into whether or not Roundup causes cancer. “If I can kill this I should get a medal,” Rowland reportedly told a Monsanto executive, who shared the comment in an email.
By Allen Cone for United Press International – Monsanto ghostwrote studies on the herbicide Roundup for the Environmental Protection Agency, documents unsealed in a federal court case seem to show. Farmers and others are suing chemical company Monsanto, alleging that the company failed to warn them that its glyphosate-based week killer can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In company emails made public Tuesday in federal court in San Francisco, Monsanto executives discuss ghostwriting research papers on Roundup, the company’s best-selling product, that would be signed by scientists. Two papers on Roundup were eventually published, one in 2000 and one in 2013.
By Phil McKenna for Inside Climate News – The head of the environmental justice program at the Environmental Protection Agency has stepped down, departing the government with a lengthy letter to Scott Pruitt, the EPA’s new administrator, urging him not to kill the agency’s programs. Mustafa Ali, a senior adviser and assistant associate administrator at the agency, worked to alleviate the impact of air, water and industrial pollution on poverty-stricken towns and neighborhoods during nearly a quarter century with the EPA. He helped found the environmental justice office, then the environmental equity office, in 1992, during the presidency of President George H.W. Bush.
By Diane Wilson for Common Dreams – On January 17, 2017, a congressional hearing to confirm Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s chosen appointee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, was held in Washington, D.C. Now, anybody who knows anything about fracking or oil well drilling knows that wherever there’s a roomful of well-dressed executives, oil probably ain’t far behind. So, I figured there was going to be a lot of oil in that room just listening to themselves talking to each other. I also thought they needed a little education from someone who also knows a lot about oil but from a somewhat different perspective. Namely, me.
By Lorraine Chow for Nation of Change – An EPA scientist says that Rowland and another official “intimidated staff” into changing reports related to the glyphosate findings. Former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official Jess Rowland may have to testify over claims that he covered up evidence that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto‘s top-selling herbicide Roundup, could cause cancer. A federal judge said at a hearing in San Francisco on Monday that he is likely to grant the deposition of Rowland, a key figure named in multi-district cancer lawsuits alleging that Monsanto failed to warn about the cancer risks associated with exposure to glyphosate.
By Steve Horn for Desmog Blog – The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has published thousands of emails obtained from the office of former Oklahoma Attorney General, Scott Pruitt, who was recently sworn in as the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the Trump Administration. Housed online in searchable form by CMD, the emails cover Pruitt’s time spent as the Sooner State’s lead legal advocate, and in particular show a “close and friendly relationship between Scott Pruitt’s office and the fossil fuel industry,” CMD said in a press release. CMD was forced to go to court in Oklahoma to secure the release of the emails, which had sat in a queue for two years after the organization had filed an open records request. Among other things, the emails show extensive communication with hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) giant Devon Energy, with Pruitt’s office not only involved in discussions with Devon about energy-related issues like proposed U.S. Bureau of Land Management fracking rules…
By Andrew Revkin and Jesse Eisinger for Pro Publica – The Trump administration has imposed a freeze on grants and contracts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Trump administration has imposed a freeze on grants and contracts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a move that could affect a significant part of the agency’s budget allocations and even threaten to disrupt core operations ranging from toxic cleanups to water quality testing, according to records and interviews. In one email exchange obtained by ProPublica on Monday, an EPA contracting officer concluded a note to a storm water management employee this way: “Right now we are in a holding pattern.
By Alexis Baden-Mayer for Organic Consumers Association – A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advisory panel is meeting this week (December 13-16) to determine the fate of glyphosate, the main active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. Will the panel heed the warnings of independent scientists? Or will it give more credence to the testimony (propaganda) delivered by Monsanto, the company that annually sells nearly $5 billion worth of its flagship herbicide, Roundup, grossing nearly $2 billion in profits. You can listen to the EPA meeting on glyphosate and cancer December 13-16.
By Neela Banerjee for Inside Climate News – In a significant reversal, the Environmental Protection Agency struck from a major 2015 report its conclusion that fracking has not caused “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water” in the United States. The agency cited the lack of data and evidence to support the finding. The change was made after an EPA panel of independent scientists recommended in August that the agency revise the statement, which had minimized the potential hazards posed to drinking water. The panel, known as the Science Advisory Board (SAB), spent a year analyzing the draft version of the study. In a call with reporters, Thomas A. Burke, the EPA’s deputy assistant administrator and science adviser, said the SAB’s analysis was central to the change.
By Steve Horn for Desmog Blog – Asked for his take on President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), multi-billionaire investor and Trump business partner Carl Icahn told Bloomberg that Pruitt is “going to really be a breath of fresh air.” Given Icahn’s business ties, that statement is steeped in accidental irony. Icahn, owner of the holding company Icahn Enterprises and a major donor to Trump’s presidential campaign, was instrumental in choosing Pruitt — a man who as state prosecutor actively opposed most federal environmental regulations and denied the science of climate change
By Eleanor Goldfield for ActOut! Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Trump thinks climate change is a Chinese hoax. So in light of recent reports from NASA climate scientists, which for example reveal a gigantic rift in the Antarctic’s Larsen ice sheet, Trump is gutting their research and plans to put climate change deniers at the helm of the EPA. Once the ice sheet is set adrift, it will be equal to the size of Delaware. An ice shelf on the West side of the Antarctic is breaking up from the inside, which is highly unusual. Temperatures in the Arctic are record-breaking. All of this adds up to warmer ocean temperatures and higher predicted sea levels. Scientists are calling this a climate emergency. There is only one thing standing in the way of continued climate destruction…
By Lorraine Chow for Eco Watch – Donald Trump has appointed Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The conservative Republican has close ties to the fossil fuel industry and has waged numerous legal wars against the EPA and President Obama’s environmental regulations, including the president’s signature Clean Power Plan. Pruitt, who was elected as Oklahoma’s top legal officer in November 2010, states on his own LinkedIn page that he “has led the charge with repeated notices and subsequent lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their leadership’s activist agenda and refusal to follow the law.”
By Whitney Webb for Mint Press News – Before Dakota Access, many Americans were unaware of the excessive damage and exploitation that Native Americans have endured and continue to suffer from massive corporations. However, last year, one of the worst environmental catastrophes was not caused by a corporation, but by the government itself. More specifically, the disaster was caused by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the very part of the federal government tasked with protecting the environment from such events. In August of 2015, a group of contractors hired by the EPA spilled massive amounts of waste from an abandoned gold mine into the Animas river and its tributaries.
By Sharon Lerner for The Intercept – ON A MUGGY Thursday morning in June, I drove through the gates of the Federal Correctional Institute in Tallahassee to meet a convicted criminal who, as far as I can tell, is the only person connected to two huge environmental contamination cases in Mississippi to ever serve prison time. Yet, strangely, the convicted felon I was on my way to meet wasn’t a polluter. On the contrary, Tennie White, who was prosecuted by a joint team made up of attorneys from the Environmental Protection Agency and the environmental crimes division of the Justice Department, had spent her professional life exposing contamination.