By Kate Sheppard
The president taps an exec from the pesticide lobby—which slammed Michelle Obama’s organic garden—for a top agriculture post.
When Michelle Obama announced plans to plant an organic garden at the White House, nearly everybody thought it was a great idea. Everybody except for the pesticide industry. Representatives from a branch of the industry’s main trade association, CropLife America (CLA), wrote to the First Lady asking her to respect the role of “conventional agriculture;” they added in a separate note to supporters that the thought of the White House’s chemical-free vegetables made them “shudder.” But the public swipe at the president’s wife didn’t stop the administration from nominating senior CLA executive Islam “Isi” Siddiqui to a key post: chief agricultural negotiator for the office of the US Trade Representative (USTR). If confirmed, Siddiqui will be responsible for, among other things, negotiating international agreements governing the use of pesticides.
CLA is the American branch of CropLife International, a powerful global lobby; its members include agriculture giants such as Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto, and DuPont. Siddiqui joined the CLA in 2001 as a registered lobbyist, and since 2003 has served as its vice president of science and regulatory affairs. In that position, he’s played a critical role in setting CLA’s domestic and international agenda.
Chiding Michelle Obama for not using “crop protection products” in her garden is one of the milder tactics CLA has deployed in service of its cause. During Siddiqui’s tenure at the organization, it has lobbied aggressively to weaken domestic and international regulations on pesticides and other agricultural chemicals.
Read full post at Mother Jones