Should we be concerned about the relationship that Dow Chemical’s CEO, Andrew Liveris, has with President Trump? The mega company spent $13.6 million on lobbying last year and even invested $1 million to help underwrite Trump’s inaugural celebration, according to the Associated Press. Liveris appears to be a close advisor to the president and was standing by his side when he signed an executive order “mandating the creation of task forces at federal agencies to roll back government regulations.”
Dow Chemical is responsible for manufacturing chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion, which is a group of pesticides originally derived from a nerve gas developed by Nazi Germany. The company sells 5 million pounds of chlorpyrifos alone in the U.S. each year. Recent studies by federal scientists have found that this group of pesticides are harmful to almost 1800 critically threatened or endangered species. The Environmental Protection Agency was close to enforcing the Endangered Species Act and imposing new limits on how and where the highly toxic pesticides can be used, according to the AP.
But under the new administration, the E.P.A., run by Scott Pruitt, may be showing signs of skepticism about the recent findings and a willingness to reverse what Pruitt called “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.”
According to the AP, lawyers that represent Dow and two other companies that manufacture the pesticides, known as organophosphates, have sent letters to the heads of the E.P.A., the Department of Commerce, and the Fish and Wildlife Service, asking them to “set aside” the results of recent studies. Dow claims that the findings are “fundamentally flawed,” and they have scientific proof that shows diverging results.
When Dow was asked whether their financial involvement with President Trump’s inaugural celebration was meant to garner favor with the administration, Rachelle Schikorra, Dow’s Director of Public Affairs, responded to the AP that any suggestion of such was “completely off the mark.”
What do you think about this story? Do we need to make changes within the E.P.A. regarding regulations? What about the financial ties between Dow and the present administration?
Credit: Vanity Fair