Chemical Panel Sues over ISAC Represenation

LEADERS OF AN INDUSTRY PANEL THAT advises White House officials on chemical trade have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., aiming to head off a planned settlement that would appoint environmental representatives to the panel — one of 16 Industry Sector Advisory Committees (ISAC). The suit was filed January 5 by the Atlantic Legal Foundation (ALF; New York) on behalf of the chemical ISAC’s chairman, DuPont chief international counsel Geoffrey Gamble, and its vice chairman, Fanwood Chemical (Fanwood, NJ) president Vincent DeLisi. The suit charges that the Clinton Administration broke terms of the Trade Act of 1974 when it agreed last year to settle a lawsuit filed by Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund (San Francisco) (CW, July 14, 2000, p. 13).

The suit demanded U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky add an environmentalist to the chemical ISAC under terms of the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972. The U.S. District Court in Seattle, which is overseeing the settlement, earlier ruled in favor of a 1999 Earthjustice lawsuit that demanded environmentalists be a part of ISACs for wood and paper products.

The chemical ISAC settlement is not expected before President Clinton leaves office this week; the settlement deadline is now mid-February. Gamble and the chairmen of the other ISACs have urged Barshefsky to delay the settlement until President-elect George W. Bush assumes office. Earthjustice managing attorney Patti Goldman says that the Seattle court would reject a Bush attempt to fight the settlement. "We’re asking the [Washington, D.C.] court to declare that the Trade Act has been violated," says Briscoe Smith, senior v.p. and counsel at ALF, a business and trade advocacy group.