Politico reports that the Obama administration's nominee to be Chief Agriculture Negotiator has come under fire for his ties to the chemical and pesticide industries.
Environmental groups are working to derail the nomination of Islam Siddiqui, vice president for science and regulatory affairs at CropLife America. Green organization's have pointed to statements Siddiqui made as a lobbyist for CropLife, while he was the Department of Agriculture undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, and as a senior agricultural trade adviser in the Clinton administration:
In 1999, for instance, he derided the European Union's ban on hormone-treated beef. According to Reuters, when the French agriculture minister expressed concern that the hormones could cause cancer in 20 to 30 years, Siddiqui reportedly said of the minister, "He wanted assurances that 30 years from now, nothing would happen. No one in the scientific community can give you that kind of decision."
At CropLife -- a trade association that represents producers and distributors of "crop protection products" -- Siddiqui is responsible for regulatory and international trade issues, according to a press release on his nomination. He was registered as a lobbyist for the association from 2001 to 2003 and held a fundraiser for the president at his home in McLean, Va.
Grist.Org, an environmental news and commentary site, called Siddiqui's nomination a "major coup" for the pesticide industry.
To take the post, Islam "Isi" Siddiqui will have to leave his current perch as vice president for agricultural biotechnology and trade at CropLife America, the trade group representing the U.S. agrichemcial industry. Its mission: to hip the public (and the government) to the "benefits of pesticides and crop-protection chemicals..." ...
This is the crew that chided Michelle Obama for daring to opt not to use "crop protection" (i.e. toxic pesticides) in the White House Garden.