Today, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) sent a letter to the Solicitor General of the United States Elizabeth B. Prelogar expressing serious concerns over the position taken by the Solicitor General in an amicus brief in Monsanto Company v. Hardeman arguing that state laws should pre-empt the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) despite the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) longstanding position that the chemical glyphosate is not carcinogenic. This position places the future use of glyphosate, a key pesticide used to protect crops, in jeopardy and could have serious negative impacts on the American food supply. In order to understand the Biden Administration’s apparent attempt to hinder the ability of America’s farmers to produce essential goods, Ranking Member Comer is requesting all documents and information regarding the Solicitor General’s decision not to support Supreme Court review of a case involving glyphosate and is urging the Solicitor General to reconsider the government’s position on this case.
“Committee on Oversight and Reform Republicans are conducting oversight of a recent amicus brief you filed recommending the Supreme Court not grant review of a case that could have serious negative impacts on the American food supply,” wrote Ranking Member Comer. “The Administration’s position puts in jeopardy the future use of glyphosate as a pesticide and threatens the currently unstable American food supply. This contravenes the EPA’s long-standing position, backed by federal government scientific research and regulatory assessment, that glyphosate is safe when used correctly. Such an extreme stance on glyphosate negatively impacts the ability of American farmers to provide United States citizens and the world with affordable food crops. Even President Biden has called upon American farmers to backfill global food shortages due to the Ukraine invasion – actions that limit the use of glyphosate; therefore, present a significant concern to national security. If this Administration is truly committed to American farmers as the “backbone” of our economy, you should reconsider your position on whether the Supreme Court should take up this case.”
In addition, the Solicitor General seemingly circumvented normal procedures when drafting the amicus brief. Committee Republicans found that the Solicitor General’s office failed to consult with Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack about the decision and that officials at EPA did not sign the amicus brief contravening past practice. This irregular process suggests that the Solicitor General’s office may not have followed accepted practices of consultation and review with the federal agencies charged with administering the laws and policies that impact farmers.
“This lack of consultation raises serious questions about the process your office followed in formulating a legal position that has the potential for such profound impacts on American farmers and the U.S. food supply. A willful disregard for consultation with the USDA, the agency protecting the interests of farmers and the food supply, requires you to reconsider the government’s position on this case,” continued Ranking Member Comer. “The amicus brief filed by the Solicitor’s Office also fails to list any officials from the EPA as co-signers. In this case, with the future of the American food supply on the line, the lack of an express concurrence on the legal issue by EPA raises serious questions as to whether the agency that administers FIFRA was properly consulted and agrees with the position taken by the Solicitor General on behalf of the U.S. government. It is critical for the American people to better understand the actions of the Administration that may have an impact on the domestic food supply at a time of rising costs due to record inflation.”
The letter to Solicitor General Prelogar can be found here.