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Publication date: Feb. 23, 2005

FOIA'D RECORDS YIELD LAWSUIT ON SECRET EPA PESTICIDE DEALS

The Natural Resources Defense Council has sued EPA, charging that the agency wrote regulations for the pesticides atrazine and dichlorvos that were insufficiently protective of public health after dozens of illegal private meetings with the Syngenta and Amvac companies, who manufacture them.

NRDC based its lawsuit on hundreds of documents of the private meetings obtained through a two-year Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Such meetings are illegal under the Federal Advisory Committee Act and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. EPA resisted disclosure of the meetings, and NRDC has charged that it falsified records regarding them.

The records, posted on the NRDC Web site, seem to show Syngenta telling EPA what regulations to write for atrazine. Some 76 million pounds of atrazine are applied annually by US farmers, and the pesticide is found in the water of over 1,100 watersheds.

EPA made a decision not to restrict atrazine use in 2003, and NRDC has been in court since at least 2001 seeking tighter rules. The new NRDC action specifically charges that EPA violated open meetings laws. EPA has denied being unduly influenced by industry in its decisions.


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