The federal judge overseeing the MDL for Roundup litigation released records exposing how a corrupt Environmental Protection Agency official bragged to Monsanto that he deserved a medal if he could kill an investigation of whether the company’s Roundup herbicide causes cancer.
The shocking boast was released by US District Judge Vince Chhabria in In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2741, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).
Monsanto was seeking Rowland’s help in stopping an investigation of glyphosate, the poison in Roundup, by a separate office, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
“If I can kill this I should get a medal,” Rowland told a Monsanto regulatory affairs manager, who recounted the boast in an email to his colleagues.
Click here to see the actual unsealed documents with Rowland’s shocking boast.
Rowland’s bragging shows the regulator who was supposed to be policing the company was corruptly working on its behalf. He apparently succeeded. The ATSDR announced in the Federal Register in February 2015 that it would publish a toxicological profile of glyphosate by October, but it never did.
Now retired, Rowland was the Deputy Division Director in the EPA’s Health Effects Division of the Office of Pesticide Programs. He joined the EPA in 1990 and as the Senior Science advisor, he could have a sweeping impact by providing expert advice on complex or novel scientific or policy issues. His branch was responsible for assessing the human health effects from pesticide exposure on food, water, working conditions and home life.
Judge Chhabria stated in Pretrial Order No. 15 that he tentatively would allow plaintiffs to take Rowland’s deposition and to compel production of documents about his work. He said he would consider further arguments before making a final decision.
The court denied Monsanto’s motion to seal documents concerning Rowland’s depositions. “Potential embarrassment to Monsanto (or to Jess Rowland) is not enough” to seal the information, according to the judge.
“Although the documents contain communications about Monsanto’s efforts to influence agencies, there is no credible argument that they reveal some sort of ‘trade secret’ about how to do so,” the judge wrote sarcastically.