Saturday, December 5, 2009

Fox in the Henhouse

—Photo by flickr user jekrub used under a Creative Commons license
Remember when the pesticide lobby attacked First Lady Michelle Obama
because she wasn't championing the use of chemicals in her White House

Somehow a top official from CropLife -- the powerful chemical industry
trade group that went after Michelle Obama's organic garden -- has been
nominated to serve as America's chief agricultural negotiator for
international trade.

The nominee's pro-pesticide group actually went as far as to organize a
protest of the lack of "crop protection products" (read: pesticides) in
the organic White House garden, explaining to its members:1

"The garden is a great idea and the photo op of the First Lady and local
elementary schoolchildren digging up the ground was precious... [But] did
you realize that it will be an organic garden?"

If confirmed by the Senate, Isi Siddiqui, who has spent the last several
years of his career fighting various restrictions and bans on
environmentally hazardous pesticides, would bring that inappropriately
aggressive stance on broadening pesticide use to the White House and
influence trade negotiations with Europe and the developing world.

Please tell President Obama to drop the nomination of Isi Siddiqui as
chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade
Representative. You can automatically add your name to our petition by
clicking here.

The Siddiqui nomination makes a mockery of President Obama's restrictions
on lobbyists in government. Even though he is not technically a current
registered lobbyist, CropLife is responsible for lobbying the government
on behalf of pesticide companies. While at CropLife, Siddiqui labored to
minimize restrictions on pesticides in NAFTA, and he succeeded in
exempting US farmers from a worldwide ban on the antifungal methyl
bromide, a potent ozone depleter.

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