President Obama has again broken his campaign promise to keep corporate lobbyists out of his administration by appointing yet another Monsanto cheerleader and pesticide lobbyist to a prominent position.
President Obama has named Islam Siddiqui to represent U.S. agricultural trade interests. Siddiqui is the current Vice-President for Science and Regulatory Affairs with CropLife America, a pesticide and biotechnology trade group known for aggressively pushing the agenda of agribusinesses, including Monsanto, Syngenta, Cargill and Dow. During Siddiqui’s term alone, CropLife has been a driving force undermining U.S. compliance with international agreements ranging from the Montreal Protocol on ozone-depleting chemicals to the Stockholm Convention, an effort to regulate the use of toxins, including DDT, PCBs and dioxins. Siddiqui’s group also publicly criticized and ridiculed Michele Obama for planting a pesticide-free organic garden at the White House.
Siddiqui first caught the Organic Consumers Association’s attention during the Clinton administration when he worked at USDA on the implementation of national organic standards. He was vocal in calling for nuclear irradiation, sewage sludge, and GMOs to be allowed in organic production. After a long campaign led by the OCA and our allies, Siddiqui and the USDA backed down.
Why would President Obama betray his ideals and organic consumers? Could the fact that Siddiqui and much of the entire chemical-biotech lobby gave Obama major campaign contributions during the 2008 campaign have anything to do with it?
Siddqui’s appointment was due for a confirmation vote in the Finance Committee on November 20. The hearing was postponed and has not yet been rescheduled. Could OCA, the 80 groups in opposition, and the 77,000 people who have signed the Stop Siddiqui petition have anything to do with it?