Conservative Legal Group Sues EPA for Documents in Debate Over Herbicide

A conservative legal group filed a lawsuit Thursday with the D.C. Circuit Court against the Environmental Protection Agency in a back-and-forth over information regarding the agency’s research into whether a widely used herbicide could cause cancer.

The Energy & Environment Legal Institute filed an action under the Freedom of Information Act after the EPA didn’t provide information about its communications with the Ramazzini Institute, an Italian research group that has coordinated with the agency on toxicology studies.

In May, the legal institute requested communications documents between the EPA and the Ramazzini Institute regarding “analytical and toxicological methods and whether the Institute’s studies were being considered for use by the EPA.”

In a press release on Thursday’s legal action, E&E said the Ramazzini Institute has close “connections” to a March 2015 report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer that said glyphosate, a herbicide used in Monsanto’s “Roundup” weed killer, may cause cancer.

In October 2015, the EPA briefly released a report saying the herbicide is probably not carcinogenic, but it quickly took the report down, saying it hadn’t meant to be published. In September, the EPA released a paper, but not a final report, saying once again that it is probably not carcinogenic.

On Monday, House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) sent a letter to National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins asking about NIH’s financial support for IARC, which is part of the World Health Institute. On Wednesday, Intertek Scientific & Regulatory Consultancy released a study, commissioned by the Monsanto, criticizing the IARC report.

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