In February, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached a settlement agreement with Syngenta Seeds LLC, a California company, to resolve violations of federal pesticide regulations. The fine reached from this settlement was dramatically lower than the fine that was imposed under the Obama Administration in 2016. Observers of the EPA noted that Jeff Sands, who was a top EPA agricultural adviser at the time of the reduced fine settlement, was previously a lobbyist for Syngenta.
The EPA’s decision to dramatically reduce the fine has raised concern about the ethical land mines of an administration filled with former lobbyist and business executives.
Rosenstein commented on the ethical dilemma:
“I think the optics are not particularly great, as become an apparent pattern with this administration,” said Joshua Ian Rosenstein, a partner at Sandler Reiff Lamb Rosenstein & Birkenstock.
“There is a lot of lip service given to following ethical restrictions,” he continued, “but report after report seems to indicate that there is very little commitment to ensuring compliance. I think this feeds into an overall picture that the administration doesn’t take these issues very seriously at all.”
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