Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.
On February 22, the Advocacy Office of the Small Business Administration, an agency of the Federal Government, held a meeting without any public notice and from which the press was barred. And while the office’s mission is supposed to be to provide “an independent voice for small business within the federal government,” many if not most of the attendees were from large companies and the trade associations and Washington lobbyists that represent their interests.
This meeting was the latest in a long and continuing series of so-called “environmental roundtables” that serve as a basis for the SBA’s Advocacy Office to weigh in against environmental or workplace regulations that big business opposes.
There are no records from these meetings that are made publicly available. Agendas and attendee lists are not disclosed, though I was able to obtain an agenda for this particular meeting at the last minute. I noted with interest that the first half of the meeting focused on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program, which provides health assessments of chemicals used by public health and environmental officials around the world.
The key draw in this meeting: a senior official from the American Chemistry Council (ACC), whose dominant members are huge global chemical companies like ExxonMobil, BASF, Dow and DuPont – in short, Big Chem. The ACC official spent a full hour coaching representatives of Big Chem and other global mining companies and automobile corporations like GM in how to pick apart and challenge recent documents developed by the IRIS program. IRIS has become a focal point of the chemical industry’s multi-front attack on independent government science. Here is the deck of Powerpoint slides used by the ACC representative and the other industry speaker. Read More