U.S. ag chemicals makers back controversial Trump nominee | September 18, 2017 Issue - Vol. 95 Issue 37 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 95 Issue 37 | p. 15 | News of The Week
Issue Date: September 18, 2017 | Web Date: September 13, 2017

U.S. ag chemicals makers back controversial Trump nominee

Democrats oppose Clovis for USDA science job
By Glenn Hess
Department: Government & Policy
Keywords: Policy, agriculture, Trump nominations
Credit: AP
A photo of Sam Clovis Jr.
Credit: AP

Agriculture businesses, including manufacturers of pesticides and fertilizers, are strongly supporting President Donald J. Trump’s pick to be the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientist.

Jay Vroom, president of CropLife America, which represents the pesticide industry, says nominee Sam Clovis Jr. “understands the importance of relying on sound science and data to make important decisions that will affect the ability of growers to provide food for the U.S. and the world.” Christopher L. Jahn, president of the Fertilizer Institute, a trade association, adds, “American agriculture will find a knowledgeable and strong advocate in Dr. Clovis.”

Clovis, a retired U.S. Air Force officer with a Ph.D. in public administration, former economics professor, and a Trump presidential campaign adviser on agricultural issues, has drawn sharp criticism since his nomination in July for lacking hard-science credentials and for his skepticism about the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change. If confirmed by the Senate, he would control nearly $3 billion a year in research grants and serve as USDA’s top scientist.

Senate Democrats vehemently oppose the appointment of Clovis to be USDA’s undersecretary for research, education, and economics. “This nominee seems to lack the necessary agricultural science and research qualifications that are required” for a top-level science position, says Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).

“Clovis’s appointment is unacceptable and would lower the high standards that America’s scientists, universities, farmers, and consumers expect,” says Mike Lavender of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Clovis currently serves as the senior White House adviser to USDA.

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