The Trump administration is trying to sneak a Dow Chemical executive in as chief scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). While the world was focusing on Trump’s press conference with Putin, the administration quietly nominated Scott Hutchins—who has spent over 30 years working for Dow Chemical— as USDA’s chief scientist the very same day. USDA’s chief scientist sets the agenda for the agency’s 2.9 billion research budget. If Hutchins is confirmed by the Senate Agricultural Committee, it would epitomize a fox guarding the henhouse.
Tell your senators: a pesticide company executive cannot be put in charge of USDA’s budget!
The Dow Chemical Company has seen a troublingly high return on its investment after the pesticide company donated $1 million to Donald Trump’s inaugural committee. Hutchins would be the third heavy hitter from Dow’s seed and pesticide division that Trump has positioned in leadership roles at USDA after putting longtime Dow veteran Ken Isley in charge of USDA’s foreign agricultural service and Isley’s colleague, Ted McKinney, as undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs.
Dow’s too-close-for-comfort relationship with government agencies has already begun impacting policy. Shortly after a secret meeting with Dow CEO Andrew Liveris in 2017, former EPA chief Scott Pruitt scrapped plans to institute a nationwide ban of chlorpyrifos, a Dow AgroSciences insecticide that’s been found to cause brain damage in children.
In June of the same year, the Department of Justice approved a megamerger of Dow with its former rival DuPont. Hutchins works for DowDuPont’s seed and pesticide division, Corteva Agriscience, developing chemical pesticides. Scott Hutchins is so enthusiastic about pesticides, he was quoted as saying, “We don’t want to replace glyphosate, we make glyphosate!” gleefully during a Dow AgroSciences tour.
Scott Hutchins’ long career developing pesticides for Dow should disqualify him to be USDA’s chief scientist!
It’s time to put our children, our health, and our planet ahead of pesticide company profits. We can’t let Trump put this pesticide pusher in charge of how USDA spends its $2.9 billion research budget.
Tell Congress to oppose Scott Hutchins’ nomination now!
Thanks for all you do,
Center for Food Safety team
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