What is in this article?:
- Senate Ag Committee hears testimony about fallout of atrazine-related suits.
- Atrazine being looked at again by EPA.
- Lawsuits targeting the product also reel in farm groups.
On out-of-state subpoenas…
“A couple of months ago, the plaintiff attorneys on the Holiday Shores case began issuing subpoenas to Illinois agriculture groups: Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Corn Growers, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association. They want any document mentioning atrazine, Syngenta or its legacy companies, any training Syngenta might have offered, all of that.
“And, at the tail end of this list, was ‘any communication with Kansas Corn Growers, Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers, or the Triazine Network.’
“It was obvious that they were fishing. The irony is they attempted to do discovery on Syngenta for the same things and the court wouldn’t allow it. The court limited discovery to either entities that were involved in official lobbying (for Syngenta) or entities they were actually a member of. So, basically, the attorneys are trying to come through the back door to get what the court wouldn’t allow through the front door.
“A few weeks ago, prior to the mid-September SAP, the attorneys began issuing subpoenas outside of Illinois. Those read like a who’s who of those who had stood up on behalf of (atrazine) at previous SAPs. National Corn Growers got one, Missouri Corn Growers got one along with the Environmental Resource Coalition (that has spoken at SAPs on BMPs and the like) and the American Farm Bureau.”
On the personal subpoena and suspicions on why it was issued…
“At my presentation during the mid-September SAP, I felt like the EPA and SAP needed to know what was happening to people that were exercising their right to participate in the public process. I spoke about that.
“Literally, the next day, my district court here in east-central Kansas received a request for three subpoenas: one for Kansas Corn Growers, one for Kansas Grain Sorghum and one for me, personally. That may be the first personal subpoena they’ve issued.
“Two of the subpoenas say, ‘You will be at your office on Sept. 30 at 10 a.m.’ Not only are they intruding into everything else, they also invite themselves into my office and tell me when to be there.
“The personal subpoena commands me — and it’s worded ‘you’re hereby commanded’ — to appear at the Best Western in Olathe, Kan., at exactly the same date and time. That’s 50 miles away from the offices!
“The list of documents they want is the most absurd, though. It’s two pages of anything you can imagine: all correspondence to and from Jere White concerning Syngenta or atrazine; all e-mails to, from, copying, or blind-copying Jere White concerning Syngenta and/or atrazine; all internal memos concerning Syngenta and/or atrazine; all studies related to atrazine; any raw data on atrazine studies; all notes, reports, analysis or other documents related to atrazine studies; any surveys received from growers or farmers regarding their atrazine or atrazine-containing product use in Illinois (the only thing in 20 categories if items being asked for that even mentions the state where the suit is located); all reports, articles or other documents written by Jere White concerning atrazine or Syngenta; any source information or other documents relied on to write anything; all documents related to presentations; all documents related to persons present at any presentation; any documents evidencing monetary contributions or compensation to me; any documents related to training offered to me by Syngenta; all phone logs, notes and other documents reflecting phone conversations between me and Syngenta, or concerning atrazine; all calendar entries reflecting meetings with Syngenta concerning atrazine; reports disclosing lobbying; all documents related to the Triazine Network, the KCGA , the KGSP and CropLife America.”
White notes the subpoena requests “all” documents — not those just related to atrazine.
“Well, as you can imagine, documents between me and (these organizations) is every damned document I’ve got! It’s everything! I actually had to read the subpoena a few times to get the full scope of what they’re saying. They want every KCGA document that exists.”