Farmers Watching EPA Chlorpyrifos Case Closely

Adam Belz reported recently at the Minneapolis Star Tribune Online that, “Farmers in Minnesota and across the country are watching closely as a battle over a key agricultural pesticide plays out in court.

“A panel of judges in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in August ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos because of studies that show its residue on food can cause brain damage in children.

“Farm groups say the ruling would ‘wreak havoc’ on American agriculture, arguing there are no good alternatives to the pesticide for many crops.”

Mr. Belz explained that, “The dilemma for farmers is compounded because soybean aphids have developed resistance to a class of pesticides called pyrethroids. Meanwhile, another type of pesticides that still work on soybean aphids, neonicotinoids, is a danger to bees.”

“Minnesota farmers watch a pesticide battle play out in courts,” by Adam Belz. Minneapolis Star Tribune (November 17, 2018).

The Star Tribune article noted that, “In the last two years of the Obama administration, it appeared the EPA was on course to ban the chemical, but in 2017, then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt denied the petition. His order said that chlorpyrifos needs further study and said the agency would need ‘greater certainty as to whether the potential exists for adverse neurodevelopmental effects to occur from current human exposure to chlorpyrifos.’

The Ninth Circuit stepped in this past August, ruling that ‘there was no justification for the EPA’s decision in its 2017 order to maintain a tolerance for chlorpyrifos in the face of scientific evidence that its residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children.’

“The EPA is now asking the court to rehear the case, and the appellate court has not decided whether to do so.”

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