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Dow Chemical Letters to EPA Raise Alarms

Dow Chemical executives asked the Trump administration to scrap studies that said the company's agricultural products were harmful to endangered species, leaked documents show. (Wikipedia)
Dow Chemical executives asked the Trump administration to scrap studies that said the company's agricultural products were harmful to endangered species, leaked documents show. (Wikipedia)
April 24, 2017

RICHMOND, Va. -- A conservation group is raising questions about attempts by Dow Chemical to convince the Trump administration to drop studies that show its pesticides could harm endangered species.

In a series of leaked letters, Dow executives asked Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt to withdraw recently released "biological evaluations" that show three insecticides - including Dow's chlorpyrifos - are likely to harm 97 percent of threatened or endangered species.

Brett Hartl is the government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity.

"Dow is now saying, 'Oh, the science is flawed. We need to start completely over' - which is an absurd delaying tactic because they don't like the result,” Hartl said.

Dow also reportedly asked the Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce departments to go back to court to challenge a 2014 settlement that requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to release their own draft biological opinions by May.

Hartl said killing those studies would scuttle a four-year process undertaken to calculate risks and set limits on where the pesticide can be sprayed. He noted that Dow contributed $1 million to President Trump's inauguration, and that Trump named Dow CEO Andrew Liveris to lead the American Manufacturing Council.

"Given Dow's very close relationship with Trump, it's not surprising that this is happening, but obviously very frustrating and very alarming,” Hartl said.

Pruitt hasn't publicly responded to the release of these letters. But he did reject recent findings by his agency's staff scientists suggesting that the government should revise the acceptable level of chlorpyrifos residue on food down to zero.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - VA