Ag Associations Seek to Block Chlorpyrifos Ban

Tacy CalliesCitrus, Legal, Pesticides

Several agricultural associations filed suit in federal court Feb. 10 seeking to block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from prohibiting the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on food crops beginning Feb. 28. The Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association is among those seeking the action.

According to the American Soybean Association, which is one of those suing, the agricultural associations are first seeking an injunction of the rule, which would take effect on the Feb. 28 implementation date. The groups are ultimately seeking vacatur of the rule where it conflicts with well-established, properly developed science.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

In 2020, the EPA issued an interim decision allowing continued use of chlorpyrifos in certain regions on 11 crops, including citrus.

An update on the use of chlorpyrifos in Florida citrus was provided by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in November 2021.

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is also a member of the coalition filing the lawsuit. AFBFPresident Zippy Duvall said, “Farmers are highly motivated to use pesticides judiciously as part of their commitment to produce safe, nutritious foods while also being good stewards of the land. Taking away this tool takes us backward by increasing the use of less effective pesticides to compensate and, in some cases, sacrificing crops that supply our food when no other defense exists against certain pests.”

For many growers, chlorpyrifos is the only tool or one of very few tools to protect crops from certain pests, the American Soybean Association stated. It added that an additional concern of growers is that EPA is also discontinuing uses when an actual food crop is not present, including to tree trunks before fruit has developed.

Last October, more than 80 agricultural groups filed formal objections to EPA’s rule revoking all tolerances of chlorpyrifos. Stakeholders, by law, can object to pesticide tolerance changes or cancellations, and the EPA administrator must then respond. The groups asked EPA for evidentiary hearings and to stay implementation of the rule until objections could be formally considered and addressed by the agency. The objections, hearing requests and stay requests have not been addressed by EPA to date, according to the American Soybean Association. A full copy of the coalition stakeholder objection letter can be found here.

Source: American Soybean Association

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