The EPA and funding issues have been all over the news. The EPA is facing significant budget cuts, but what does this mean? While some say this points to an administration that does not care about the environment, it seems that there are bigger issues at the EPA.
With evidence surfacing that alleges unethical conduct at the EPA, it may be time to force this agency to uphold a higher standard. As the story unfolds concerning a partnership between Monsanto and the EPA, it seems more accountability is the best thing for the EPA.
The agency appears to be in an unusual position; any talks of changing the way they do business are interpreted as being unsympathetic to the environment. Any discussion concerning accountability or transparency comes back to hurting the environment. There seems to be little focus on some major issues within the agency.
The EPA holds itself as the champion for the environment but behind closed doors, some employees of the EPA are not acting in the best interest of the American public. It is hard to argue their efforts stand good when it appears their loyalties were for sale.
Roundup, the blockbuster money-maker for Monsanto, has been recommended as being safe by the EPA. It would stand to reason that this would mean the EPA had done some work to make sure the product was not harming the American public or the environment. In all truth, the endorsement came with little to no actual research on the part of the EPA.
The EPA did not follow up on the reported concerns of farmers across the country to explore whether or not the full formula of Roundup was safe. Instead, the EPA used industry standards, tied to just one ingredient of Roundup, to declare the product was safe.
When the EPA endorsed Roundup, they did so based on only one of the active ingredients. The EPA used limited research, not tied to the whole product, but a small part of the product. It seems the agency felt it was fair to cut corners on protecting the American public from possible cancer threats. The obligation of the EPA was supposed to be safeguarding the public, farm animals, and the environment. Instead, their primary focus was putting out minimal effort and giving their gold stamp to a product that may be dangerous.
The EPA used their weak standards to justify inaction. The fact that they do not require any human health data to determine the “safety” of a toxin seems outrageous. The endorsement of the EPA should hold some level of value and prestige.
That EPA support didn’t mean there was any proof that Roundup was safe for humans, animals or the environment. When Monsanto’s lead toxicologist, Doctor Donna Farmer, is not able to ensure that Roundup is safe, the EPA had no business making that claim.
Roundup has been on the market for 35 years. During that time, Monsanto has made zero attempts to study the actual cancer-causing effects of their product. Simply put, Doctor Farmer does not know if their product causes cancer.
Instead of performing studies to see if the product causes cancer, Monsanto instead coached the language used in materials. They couldn’t say it did or did not cause cancer. On a very basic level, the EPA could be endorsing cancer causing products because no one has done the research over 35 years.
When it came time to do the scientific research, there are allegations that employees of Monsanto made efforts to ghost write those studies. Instead of allowing outside scientists to perform the work, the company reps would write the reports with the names of the scientists attached. Ghostwriting meant that Monsanto could tailor these reports to say anything they wanted, but it could be presented as outside “proof.”
The reason was simple; it wasn’t budget friendly to do the real research.
The ghostwriting and the overall lack of research are troubling alone. The fact that the EPA came in to continue the efforts to avoid research is even worse.
An email within Monsanto applauds the efforts of the EPA’s Deputy Division Director for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Jess Rowland. to rubber stamp Roundup as being safe. Even though Rowland would also head up the EPA’s cancer assessment efforts, there seemed to be no drive to prove the safety of the product.
Rowland was not fighting to protect the public or the environment at this point. He was using his role with the EPA to further an agenda that was not in the best interest of anyone but Monsanto. The EPA as an agency failed the public when it traded favors with Monsanto. This horrible injustice is precisely the type of thing that better oversite would derail.
It appears the EPA was allowed to make their own rules, finding creative ways around their duties to the American public for far too long. The EPA is supposed to be protecting the environment, not shielding big business. One has to wonder how much of the current EPA funding has been spent on protecting the public versus rubbing elbows with big business.