EPA faces lawsuit for suppressing pesticide data

EPA Withholds Pesticide Information While Bees Die, a press release from OMB Watch, September 9, 2008.  Excerpt:

A conservation organization has sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to release information about a pesticide linked to dramatic declines in honeybee populations. The pesticide was approved on the condition that the manufacturer study the effects of the chemical on the bee species. The EPA has received the studies but refuses to release them to the public, even though a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was filed….

This is not the first time that NRDC has had to seek legal intervention to extract pesticide information from EPA. NRDC claims that EPA’s pesticide program has repeatedly refused to disclose information in response to FOIA requests until months or even years after the deadline. Several times, federal judges have rebuked the Office of Pesticide Programs in cases NRDC was forced to litigate regarding the EPA’s lack of transparency. The group reports that over the last seven years, NRDC has filed several FOIA requests per year for EPA pesticide information, and the agency has not responded on time to any of the requests.

Comments

  • Kudos to the NRDC for going to court to open these data.  Congress should stop second-guessing the NIH OA mandate and adopt an OA mandate for the EPA.
  • Also see the similar case reported in the OMB Watch press release from August 5, 2008, and my blog post on it.