Toxic regulation

September 2015
Water pollution in United States. Photo Creative Commons
In a US radio show this year, former President Jimmy Carter described the US presidential elections as degenerated into nothing more than an "oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery".

Cynical financial control of US regulators and regulations is nowhere more obvious than in GM matters.

Since 2013, food and biotech companies and their trade bodies have spent £143 million in lobbying against GM labelling laws: they spent £51.6 million in the first half of 2015 alone.

The 275 members of Congress who voted for an Act designed to pre-empt implementation of GM labelling laws at State level*, accepted $29.9 million from Big Ag and Big Food in 2014.

*This Act has been dubbed the 'DARK' (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act.

However, the skills to use "unlimited bribery" to confuse and influence the US administration were perfected by industry long before GMOs came on the scene.

E. G. Vallianatos, who worked in the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for 25 years, describes a history which keeps repeating itself.

By the 1960s, it was clear that the US federal department set up to protect human health and the environment was failing miserably: it was doing little more than defending industry, often even more blatantly than regulators do today. America was awash with chemicals, and its industries had become accustomed to polluting without penalty.

In 1970, President Richard Nixon responded by founding the EPA. The new Agency was charged specifically with protecting the natural environment and public health from the insults of industrial pollution.

Well-motivated at first, the EPA took only two years to ban DDT.

The rest of the story will sound sadly familiar to followers of the GM issue. Industry had been told, unmistakably, to mend its ways. In Vallianatos' words "Industry got the message, and they did not like it at all. It put up vociferous opposition to the abolition of DDT. It denounced the EPA in the same ways it had excoriated Rachel Carson when her book Silent Spring appeared in 1962. It sent its agents to the White House and Congress to undermine the EPA and henceforth take charge of dictating America's "environmental protection". The effects of the campaign filtered down to the bureaucracy and in time dramatically recast - and contaminated - the mission of EPA". And that was the end of any public protection from the insults of industrial pollution.


The long-term rot in the US administration seemingly caught in an inescapable, long-standing and well-practised industry strangle-hold is now feeding us GMOs as well as toxic chemicals. 

Read the book for yourself: E. G. Vallianatos Poison Spring - the secret history of pollution and the the EPA, 2014, ISBN: 978-1-60819-914-3 

  • What Really Scares Us, OCA Organic Bytes, 9.08.15

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