So, are you good with Roundup now?
The Environmental Protection Agency, made golden in the image of Donald Trump, just pronounced the weed-killer not a human-killer.
The wind gust you just heard? That was a sigh of relief from Roundup’s maker, Monsanto. Or maybe there was no suspense at all.
The EPA announced that it won’t approve cancer warnings on products with glyphosate, Roundup’s active ingredient.
This despite the International Agency for Research’s asserting a cancer link is probable.
This despite a string of victories for plaintiffs claiming the chemical caused their cancer, with 13,000 suits pending.
So, go ahead and use Roundup with the confidence inspired by he who recently said he’s a world-class environmentalist, that as president he is “working so hard” on clean water and air.
This despite — well — everything he has done.
Indeed, those who care might read Politico’s fact-check on “Trump’s environmental rhetoric vs. record.”
The crux is that Trump has virtually no claim to any environmental gains. To the contrary: He has undermined many key initiatives made under President Obama toward cleaner air and water.
Of course, we all knew that. It is high comedy that Trump would spin any other pretense.
Look at the cast of profiteers and pillagers he has appointed to oversee our environment and its public lands.
His EPA director, Andrew Wheeler, is a former coal-industry lobbyist. That’s some qualification.
His Interior secretary, David Bernhardt, is a former lobbyist for big agriculture and oil and gas.
Obviously, the key qualification for stewardship of the environment in this administration is to have carried water for its despoilers.
If that sounds like hyperbole, consider that Bernhardt recently appointed William Perry Pendley to be acting head of the Bureau of Land Management.
What is Pendley’s qualification? Um, look at what he wrote for the National Review in 2016: that the founding fathers “intended all lands owned by the federal government to be sold.”
In other words, he had Trump at “Hello.”
Last week the administration set forth to hamper the Endangered Species Act, although in comical Trump-speak, Bernhardt said the action really was about making it work better:
“The best way to the Endangered Species Act is to do everything we can to ensure it remains effective in achieving its ultimate goal — recovery of our rarest species.”
So, do you think the Trump administration is interested in doing this very thing? Clearly it is not, as attested to by a provision that would put cost considerations ahead of species preservation.
Whom do you trust? Not them.
Back to Roundup. I’m not in a position to state that it causes cancer or not. Just know that Monsanto has pumped millions of dollars into the policymaking process in terms of lobbying and campaign donations. It was one of the big contributors to the Trump inauguration.
Pursuant to the job specifications for working on his team, last year Trump nominated a former Monsanto executive, Aurelia Skipwith, to head up the Fish and Wildlife Service.
This came after the same agency decided in Monsanto’s favor when it rescinded an Obama administration ban on the use of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides in farming operations in national wildlife refuges.
I don’t know neonicotinoids from adenoids, but I know whom I trust when it comes to protecting the environment and public lands. It’s not the con man with the itchy Twitter fingers. It’s not people compromised by their involvement in industries that they would govern.
So, go ahead. Stick with Roundup. I’ll pass.
Come to think of it, there could have been no suspense at all about the glyphosate decision. Monsanto knew whom it could trust. What about you?
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.