The largest chemical company in the world, BASF, has decided to move out of Germany. Opposition to their GMO seeds was so great that the company decided better pickings were – where else? – in the United States! As if we don’t have enough problems battling Monsanto and Dow with chemicals and GMOs! To be sure, this will be a cause for vigilance against these companies who are determined to have their genetically modified way!
Lobbying by chemical and biotech giants has taken a tremendous jump in the last 5 years. Back in 1999, a paltry $35 million was spent. According to the data available at OpenSecrets.org which tracks money in politics, in 2006 funds spent for lobbying was about $43 million. 2007 was around $57 million; 2008 was just about at $70 million. 2009 showed slowed growth at a hair over $70 million.
The money is bad enough. The so-called revolving door between the chemical industry and government is busier than Macy’s on 42nd Street on Christmas Eve! Pesticide Action Network reports:
Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court Justice & former Monsanto lawyer who did not recuse himself in a recent case involving his former employer.
Islam Siddiqui, former pesticide lobbyist for CropLife America, currently the lead Agricultural Negotiator for the U.S. Office of Trade – despite record opposition to his appointment.
Roger Beachy, founding president of the Danforth Plant Science center (Monsanto’s de facto nonprofit research arm), currently heads the USDA’s National Institute for Food & Agriculture.
Michael Taylor, former Monsanto lawyer & Vice President for Public Policy, currently serving as at the FDA. Taylor is famous for having engineered the U.S. government’s favorable agricultural biotechnology policies during the Clinton administration.
Elin Miller, former heard of Arysta’s North American division, installed by George W. Bush as head of EPA’s Region 9 Office. Arysta is the largest private pesticide company in the world, and sole producer of methyl iodide.
Ramona Romero, former corporate counsel for DuPont, appointed in 2010 to serve as general counsel for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Organic Consumers has another list of biotech meets government.