The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

New EPA Research Head Comes With Tight Corporate Ties

by Brendan Coyne

Oct. 7, 2005 – Charging that the Environmental Protection Agency is increasingly falling under the grasp of corporate interests, a coalition of government employees yesterday urged federal lawmakers to deny a top spot within the agency to a White House nominee who is a strong free-market advocate with tight corporate ties.

The US Senate is set to vote to confirm George M. Gray as the second-in-command at the EPA Office of Research and Development. The ORD studies the science, costs and benefits behind proposed EPA rules.

Currently, Gray is the director of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis and a lecturer at the university.

According to information compiled by the Center for Media and Democracy, Gray is affiliated with several pro-business organizations, including the Environmental Literacy Council (ELC), a nonprofit funded by a number of groups with ties to the energy, chemical and defense industries. Among the ELC’s backers are conservative operations such as the John M. Olin Foundation, Sarah Scaife Foundation and the Koch Family Foundations.

In a statement yesterday, Jeff Ruch, the executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), charged that the "list of George Gray’s corporate sponsors reads like a murderer’s row of the top polluters in the country." Ruch warned that Gray is likely to expand the EPA’s use of corporate research money.

On Wednesday, PEER released records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act detailing an increasingly symbiotic relationship between the EPA and chemical companies. The organization’s program director Rebecca Rose said the agency is "becoming an arm of corporate research and development."

Since President George W. Bush took office, the EPA has nearly doubled the number of research-and-development agreements with industry associations and companies that it held during the previous administration, according to PEER. The American Chemical Council, the nation’s largest chemical industry lobby, is the agency’s biggest partner, the group noted.

Gray’s nomination vote comes just days after PEER revealed that the agency is embarking on a plan to outsource as many as 850 jobs.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

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Brendan Coyne is a contributing journalist.

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