Background: Staff members of CropLife America, Bayer CropScience and Syngenta were named in a Freedom Of Information Act request filed by the environmental activist group Friends of the Earth. To view their request click here.
Here is Jay Vroom, president/CEO of CropLife America's response:
CropLife America (CLA) understands and supports the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the role it plays in ensuring government transparency. We recognize that all citizens have a right to utilize FOIA. However, since I and a number of my colleagues are personally identified in the sweeping FOIA request issued by Friends of the Earth (FOE) on August 26, 2015, and the matters in question are of the highest priority to CLA and our member companies, I feel compelled to respond.
"I personally reject FOE statements implying that somehow I, my colleagues at CLA and the members of our association have some secretive, undue influence with regulators at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In order to help establish a balanced public record on the matter, I decided to comment immediately.
"Pollinator health is an issue of critical importance to a broad variety of stakeholders, including CLA, and we regularly communicate with EPA on that topic. In fact, CLA recently submitted its own FOIA request to EPA on an issue related to pollinator health, and we thank the agency for its prompt response. The provided information assisted CLA in submitting thoughtful and meaningful public comments to EPA on a recently-proposed action.
"CLA and our members, along with the NGO community, know the burden that FOIA requests place on government officials. We know that complying with these requests takes valuable time that otherwise would be devoted to productive regulatory work.
"I do not believe that FOE's FOIA request aims to accomplish any regulatory impact, and instead serves as a public relations stunt. I, alongside my colleagues at CLA and within the crop protection industry, are disappointed at this wasteful action."