NRDC Urges Senate to Reject OMB Regulatory Chief Nominee John D. Graham

Group Calls Graham a "Nightmare" Choice for Public Health and the Environment

WASHINGTON (March 8, 2001) - If the Senate confirms Bush-nominee John D. Graham for a key post at the Office of Management and Budget, it would be a polluter's "dream come true," says NRDC (the Natural Resources Defense Council). The White House announced the nomination of Graham to run OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs late Tuesday.

As director of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, Graham has routinely understated the dangers of products manufactured by the center's corporate sponsors by using questionable cost-benefit analyses. If confirmed by the Senate, he would be in a position to block key environmental regulations on the basis of his controversial, corporate-friendly economic calculations.

"The appointment of John Graham at OMB would be nightmare for anyone who cares about children's health and the environment," said Dr. Linda Greer, an NRDC senior scientist. "If confirmed, we would expect him to apply the same kind of pro-industry, anti-consumer and anti-environment cost-benefit analyses to regulations that he has in the past. On behalf of our more than 400,000 members, we urge the Senate to reject his nomination."

The main benefactors of Graham's center include the American Automobile Manufacturers Association, American Crop Protection Association, American Petroleum Institute, Chemical Manufacturers Association, Chlorine Chemistry Council, Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil, Monsanto and International Paper, which generally get the results they pay for. For example:

  • Last summer a Harvard center report concluded that the hazards of talking on a cell phone while driving are relatively small. AT&T Wireless Communications sponsored the study.

  • In early 2000, a center report suggested that particulate emissions from natural gas engines are as bad as those from comparable diesel engines. The report's sponsor, Navistar, is one of the few diesel engine manufacturers that do not make natural gas engines.
  • A 1999 center report concluded that banning older, highly toxic pesticides would lower agricultural yields and result in an increase in premature childhood deaths. The study, which was widely criticized for its twisted application of risk assessment techniques, was funded by the American Farm Bureau Federation, which opposes restrictions on pesticides.

"Graham's record puts him squarely in opposition to some of the most important environmental and health achievements of the last decade," Dr. Greer added. "Under his direction, the Harvard center has churned out studies slanted to benefit its corporate sponsors, while ignoring or grossly understating critical health risks. If the Senate cares about public health and the environment, it should just say no."