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Smith Demands Answers on EPA Administrator’s Misleading Testimony on Glyphosate

Oct 25, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy regarding her testimony before the committee at a June hearing titled Ensuring Sound Science at EPA.  Administrator McCarthy’s testimony contained misleading statements concerning EPA’s role in the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) study of the chemical glyphosate.

Since the June 22 hearing, the committee has obtained documents and information that appear to contradict Administrator McCarthy’s responses to committee members’ questions on the EPA’s review of glyphosate. For example, Administrator McCarthy indicated that no EPA officials worked on IARC’s finding that glyphosate probably causes cancer. However, documents obtained by the committee put these statements in question (more). Based on this discrepancy and EPA’s recent decision to delay its Scientific Advisory Panel’s upcoming meeting on the chemical, the committee is concerned that the EPA will not evaluate glyphosate based on sound science.

“What is most unfortunate about this matter is that this is just another example of EPA’s inability to perform the most basic of its statutory functions,” the letter states. “Throughout the course of this Administration, the EPA has been laser focused on its regulatory agenda, promulgating some of the most complex and wide-reaching rules under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. No one would dispute how prolific the agency has been in its rulemaking. But that is the problem. The EPA’s sole focus on regulation has caused the agency to disregard process and basic environmental protection.”

“From the complete disregard for the environment seen by the EPA’s failure to warn in Flint, Michigan, to the pollution of the Animas River, and the lack of adherence to process in subverting the Clean Water Act in Bristol Bay Alaska, the EPA fails at the most basic of tasks,” the letter continues. “The agency’s review of glyphosate is little different than these examples. The Committee implores you to take control of this matter and determine why your staff failed you and failed to correct matters as necessary to ensure that the agency’s decisions are based solely on sound science.”

The committee has also determined that EPA officials maintained a close relationship with activist IARC participant Christopher Portier. Mr. Portier spearheaded a letter writing campaign challenging the European Food Safety Authority’s study on glyphosate. Christopher Portier’s brother, Kenneth Portier, was named as a member of the Scientific Advisory Panel to review EPA’s work on glyphosate earlier this month. Click here for a full list of Scientific Advisory Panel members.

In today’s letter Chairman Smith also requested transcribed interviews with three key individuals involved in this matter.

The full letter can be found HERE.


On Oct. 14, EPA announced that the Scientific Advisory Panel’s upcoming meeting on the chemical glyphosate has been further delayed.

On June 7, Chairman Smith sent a letter to the Administrator McCarthy requesting transcribed interviews with four EPA employees to better understand the process the EPA used to evaluate the chemical glyphosate.

On May 4, Chairman Smith sent a  letter to Administrator McCarthy requesting documents and communications related to the risk assessment for glyphosate prepared by the Cancer Assessment Review Committee (CARC).

In April, the EPA posted what appeared to be the final risk assessment for glyphosate prepared by the Cancer Assessment Review Committee (CARC). EPA subsequently removed the report from its website stating it was posted “inadvertently.” The report was clearly marked as “Final Report” and signed by the thirteen members of CARC. The CARC report found that glyphosate was not likely to be carcinogenic.


114th Congress