Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman
The new Secretary of Agriculture, Ann Veneman, is a friend of Monsanto. She
was on the Board of Directors of Calgene, the biotech company that became a
Agriculture Secretary -- Ann Veneman, former California Agriculture Secretary
Ann Veneman's record is a cause for concern. For example, in her private law practice, Veneman has represented clients whose positions run counter to the environmental protections that Americans want. Specifically, she represented the Sierra Nevada Access, Multiple Use and Stewardship Coalition on the issue of the Sierra Nevada Environmental Program. This coalition represents the interests of loggers, miners and off-road vehicle enthusiasts who pushed for fewer protections for wild forests and wildlife. (The Agriculture Department oversees the Forest Service.).
In addition, as California's Agriculture Secretary she opposed efforts to ban methyl bromide -- a toxic ozone-depleting pesticide, and when stumping for Bush in California, she told farmers and ranchers they would no longer be subjected to "unnecessary and burdensome" government environmental and safety protections under a Bush administration. Veneman also has played a major role in promoting free trade agreements without adequate environmental, safety, labor and human rights standards (such as NAFTA).
It will be critical that the Senate quiz Veneman extensively on what basic environmental and safety protections she thinks should no longer be enforced