The Trump administration’s top environmental official met privately with the chief executive of Dow Chemical shortly before reversing his agency’s push to ban a widely used pesticide that health studies showed can harm children’s brains, newly released records reveal.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt‘s schedule shows he met with Dow CEO Andrew Liveris for about half an hour March 9 during a conference held at a Houston hotel. Twenty days later, Pruitt announced his decision to deny a petition to ban Dow’s chlorpyrifos pesticide from being sprayed on food even though a review by his agency’s scientists concluded that ingesting even minuscule amounts of the chemical can interfere with the brain development of fetuses and infants.
The EPA released a copy of Pruitt’s March meeting schedule this month after several Freedom of Information Act requests.
Asked in April whether Pruitt had meet with Dow executives or lobbyists before his decision, EPA spokesman J.P. Freire replied: “We have had no meetings with Dow on this topic.”
The EPA did not respond this week to questions about what Pruitt and Liveris discussed during their March 9 meeting, or whether the two had also met on other occasions.
Liveris has close ties to the Trump administration. He heads a White House manufacturing working group, and Dow wrote a $1-million check to help underwrite the president’s inaugural festivities.