Trump Names Pesticide Bigwig As USDA’s Top Scientist

Another day, another industry insider that President Donald Trump is bringing into his administration to help ruin the environment. The latest nominee is Scott Hutchins, a leading pesticide executive from Dow Chemical. Pending a Senate vote, Hutchins will serve as the top scientist at the Department of Agriculture.

Prior to being courted by the Trump administration, Hutchins was the global director for crop protection research and development with Dow, which primarily dealt with developing chemical combinations to wipe out insects on farms. He’s been with the company for over 30 years since graduating Iowa State University with a Ph.D. in entomology.

That might be less problematic if Hutchins weren’t the third high-ranking Dow pesticide figure appointed to an influential role at the USDA. Agriculture is about more than the chemicals we spray on crops, but this White House doesn’t necessarily see it that way.

At least Hutchins is a scientist. A year ago, Trump tapped Sam Clovis, a man who lacked any sort of scientific credentials, to serve in this same role as the USDA’s leading scientist.

Months later, Clovis withdrew his own nomination, not necessarily because his inexperience was a hindrance to him getting confirmed, but because his name kept popping up in Robert Mueller’s probe. Clovis then blamed the “political climate” for making it unlikely that he’d be extended “balanced and fair consideration.” Would he have really wanted fair consideration for a job he was never qualified for, though?

While Hutchins having agriculture and science experience is a step up from that last choice, there’s got to be concern over the bias he brings to the job. He’s been pro-pesticide for so long, it’s inevitably going to color his perspective. In this role, Hutchings gets to decide how to spend the department’s nearly $3 billion in research funding, and that could very well go toward studies that specifically avoid finding the harms of chemicals sprayed on food.

If that seems like an overreaction, bear in mind how much influence Dow Chemical has had on the Trump administration so far. After meeting with Dow’s CEO, the EPA chief decided to reverse a planned ban on chlorpyrifos; then, just months later, that same substance poisoned dozens of farm workers.

Also factor in how the Trump administration decided to bury new government research about how cancerous formaldehyde is, specifically at the request of the formaldehyde industry. Chemical companies have a lot of sway, something that only will be amplified with Hutchins in this role.

Reach out to your U.S. senators to let them know we don’t need (another) pesticide guy running scientific research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

72 comments

Catrin S
Catrin S4 days ago

No surprise here, he is in a reality far far away.....

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Kelsey S
Kelsey S6 days ago

Thanks

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John W
John W6 days ago

Thanks

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Janis K
Janis K7 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Danii P
Past Member 8 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Danii P
Past Member 8 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Danii P
Past Member 8 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Danii P
Past Member 13 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Danii P
Past Member 13 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Leo Custer
Leo C14 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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