EPA Sued Over Consultations With Pesticide Industry Group

Fourteen leading chemical companies have formed a task force that is meeting in secret with the U.S. EPA, attempting to weaken endangered species rules relating to pesticide use — so charges a lawsuit filed against the EPA on Thursday by a coalition of Seattle-based environmental groups. The lawsuit claims the meetings violate a federal law prohibiting government agencies from consulting with advisory panels composed exclusively of representatives from a single industry, and prohibiting secret meetings with advisory panels of any kind. The suit is part of a larger attempt by environmental groups to stop the EPA from changing rules that currently require it to consult with other agencies — like the National Marine Fisheries Service — when considering how a new pesticide might affect marine life. Industry groups want the EPA to be able to act more quickly, on its own. An industry task force spokesperson claims that the group is merely providing the EPA with technical data, not lobbying. Mmm-hmm.