The top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, Rep. James Comer (R-Kentucky) is blasting a decision by the Biden Administration in a landmark case about the weedkiller Roundup.
In that case, a jury awarded a $25 million verdict against the maker of Roundup, Monsanto, saying the product can cause cancer and that Monsanto knew it but failed to warn the public.
Comer and supporters of Monsanto say the verdict threatens the food supply and should have been blocked by existing federal law.
The verdict was won by California resident Edwin Hardeman, who developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after using Roundup for years. It was meant to serve as a test case for thousands of other cases against the company.
Monsanto, which is now owned by Bayer AG, petitioned the Supreme Court, arguing that Hardeman’s claims should have been blocked by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
But the Biden Administration's top lawyer before the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, has joined Monsanto in telling the Court that it should not review the case.
Comer argues that Prelogar's position will allow state laws to pre-empt the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) longstanding position that the key controversial ingredient in Roundup, the chemical glyphosate, is not carcinogenic.
According to Comer, this places future use of glyphosate, a pesticide used to protect crops, in jeopardy and could have serious negative impacts on the American food supply.
Comer has requested all documents and information regarding the Solicitor General’s decision.
The Administration’s position puts in jeopardy the future use of glyphosate as a pesticide and threatens the currently unstable American food supply. This contravenes the EPA’s long-standing position, backed by federal government scientific research and regulatory assessment, that glyphosate is safe when used correctly.
Such an extreme stance on glyphosate negatively impacts the ability of American farmers to provide United States citizens and the world with affordable food crops.
Even President Biden has called upon American farmers to backfill global food shortages due to the Ukraine invasion – actions that limit the use of glyphosate; therefore, present a significant concern to national security.
If this Administration is truly committed to American farmers as the “backbone” of our economy, you should reconsider your position on whether the Supreme Court should take up this case.”Rep. James Comer (R-Kentucky), House Oversight Committee
Oversight Committee Republicans say the Solicitor General’s office failed to consult with Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack about its decision to recommend no Supreme Court review, and that officials at EPA did not sign the amicus brief, contrary to past practice.
Read the letter to Solicitor General Prelogar here or below:
The Honorable Elizabeth B. Prelogar Solicitor General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20530
Dear Solicitor General Prelogar:
June 7, 2022
Committee on Oversight and Reform Republicans are conducting oversight of a recent amicus brief you filed recommending the Supreme Court not grant review of a case that could have serious negative impacts on the American food supply. On May 22, 2022, you filed an amicus brief in Monsanto Company v. Hardeman arguing that state laws should pre-empt the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) despite the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) longstanding position that the chemical glyphosate is not carcinogenic.1 This position places the future use of glyphosate, a key pesticide used to protect crops, in jeopardy at a time when some grocery shelves are already empty. Just as troubling, it appears the brief may not have followed the accepted practice of being approved by the relevant federal agencies. In order to understand why the Biden Administration is attempting to hinder the ability of farmers to be a global leader in food production and why proper procedure was not followed in filing the brief, we request documents and information regarding your decision not to support Supreme Court review of a case involving glyphosate.
The Administration’s position puts in jeopardy the future use of glyphosate as a pesticide and threatens the currently unstable American food supply. This contravenes the EPA’s long- standing position, backed by federal government scientific research and regulatory assessment, that glyphosate is safe when used correctly.2 Such an extreme stance on glyphosate negatively impacts the ability of American farmers to provide United States citizens and the world with affordable food crops. Even President Biden has called upon American farmers to backfill global food shortages due to the Ukraine invasion – actions that limit the use of glyphosate; therefore, present a significant concern to national security.3 If this Administration is truly
1 Brief for the U.S. as Amicus Curiae at 4, Monsanto Co., v. Hardeman, No. 21-241 (9th Cir. May 10, 2022).
2 U.S. EPA, Glyphosate, available at https://www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/glyphosate.
3 Josh Wingrove, Biden Says to Expect ‘Real’ Food Shortages Due to Ukraine War, BLOOMBERG, Mar. 24, 2022.
Hon. Elizabeth B. Prelogar June 7, 2022
committed to American farmers as the “backbone” of our economy,4 you should reconsider your position on whether the Supreme Court should take up this case.
Additionally, the process you undertook in drafting the amicus brief is troubling. Recent reporting suggests your office failed to consult with Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack, whose agency’s mission is to “provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.”5 At a hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Secretary Vilsack testified that the U.S. Department of Agriculture was not 6 consulted in the formulation of the government’s position as established in the amicus brief. This lack of consultation raises serious questions about the process your office followed in formulating a legal position that has the potential for such profound impacts on American farmers and the U.S. food supply. A willful disregard for consultation with the USDA, the agency protecting the interests of farmers and the food supply, requires you to reconsider the government’s position on this case.
The amicus brief filed by the Solicitor’s Office also fails to list any officials from the EPA as co-signers.7 Precedent suggests that in instances where the government has taken a legal position on pre-emption of the statute at issue, the federal agency charged with administering that statute is included on the brief as endorsing that action. For example, in an amicus brief filed by the Solicitor General regarding a cert petition for Virginia Uranium, Inc v. Warren, the Solicitor and attorneys on behalf the Nuclear Regulatory Commission were included as co- signers of the brief – solidifying their endorsement of the position.8 In this case, with the future of the American food supply on the line, the lack of an express concurrence on the legal issue by EPA raises serious questions as to whether the agency that administers FIFRA was properly consulted and agrees with the position taken by the Solicitor General on behalf of the U.S. government.
It is critical for the American people to better understand the actions of the Administration that may have an impact on the domestic food supply at a time of rising costs due to record inflation.9 To assist with this investigation, please produce the following documents and information no later than June 21, 2022:
1. All documents and communications between or among the Office of the Solicitor and any official or employee from EPA referring or relating to the amicus brief filed in Monsanto.
4 Maegan Vazquez, et al., Biden Blames Russia’s War in Ukraine for Food Supply Shortages and Price Hikes, CNN May 11, 2022.
5 USDA, About the U.S. Department of Agriculture, available at https://www.usda.gov/our-agency/about-usda.
6 Hearing before the S. Comm. on Agriculture, testimony of Hon. Thomas J. Vilsack, May 26, 2022.
7 Brief for the U.S. as Amicus Curiae at 24, Monsanto Co., v. Hardeman, No. 21-241 (9th Cir. May 10, 2022).
8 Brief for the U.S. as Amicus Curiae at 23, Virginia Uranium Inc., et al., v. Warren, et al., 139 S. Ct. 1894, 204 L. Ed. 2d 277 (2019) (No. 16-1275).
9 Mike Winters, Rising Inflation Has Made It More Expensive to Eat at Home – Here’s How Much Grocery Prices Have Increased, CNBC, Apr. 12, 2022.
Hon. Elizabeth B. Prelogar June 7, 2022
- All documents and communications between or among the Office of the Solicitor and any official or employee from USDA referring or relating to the amicus brief filed in Monsanto.
- All documents and communications between or among the Office of the Solicitor and any official or employee from the White House Counsel’s Office and the Executive Office of the President referring or relating to the amicus brief filed in Monsanto.
- All documents and communications between or among the Office of the Solicitor and any non-governmental organization, group, or company referring or relating to the amicus brief filed in Monsanto.
The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is the principal oversight committee of the House of Representatives and may at “any time” investigate “any matter” as set forth in House Rule X. If you have any questions about this request, please contact Oversight Committee Republican Staff at 202-225-5074. Thank you for your cooperation with this inquiry.
Committee on Oversight and Reform
cc: The Honorable Carolyn Maloney, Chairwoman Committee on Oversight and Reform
Bill Andrews says
The Answer to this is Easy ? Remember all those vacant Buildings in every County State and Cities and Small Towns across The United States since the 80's ..New Indoor Farming putting those buildings to better use Growing Better crops controlled without Pesticides and weed killers and Bugs and Less water spray usage...."And if they shout don't let it change the New things your Doing ?.. By the Way Sharyl ? I been recording Video and and jpg. of my past posts Here for Documented History ! Even the ones you held back from postings !.. P.S. Catch the Rain Water from your New Crop growing buildings from Rain Water when it does rain to Further use less Water and Better recycle..
Brent Bielema says
At the end of WW2 there was a huge American stockpile of chemical weapons -- so guess what they did? Instead of safely disposing of them, they created the lawn / farm chemical industry! The best thing we could possibly do is to phase out / eliminate what my late farmer grandpa called "poison" and go biodynamic / regenerative. Here's an article on the dangers of glyphosate (Roundup):
George Daddis says
If you are an activist, you can be sure Slo Joe will be on your side no matter how flimsy the proof of your accusations are. (Glysophate has been deemed safe by virtually every chemical/health organization in the world; there was only one objection and their data and standards were very questionable.)
Not only do lawyers (and most jurors) not understand chemistry and statistics, they also failed modern math; the concept of independent overlapping sets is apparently well over their heads.
Their logic is like saying a "study showed that many people who died recently ate carrots sometime in their life".