Court denies petition to halt dicamba sales as House leaders express concern
A panel of Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judges on Friday denied an emergency motion to halt dicamba use and hold the Environmental Protection Agency in contempt of court, DTN/The Progressive Farmer reported.
On June 3, the Ninth Circuit vacated three registrations for dicamba on the grounds that EPA had not taken into consideration all the implications of spreading the herbicide on crops.
EPA complied with the ruling but allowed farmers and commercial applicators to continue applying “existing stocks” of XtendiMax, Engenia and FeXapan through July 31. The plaintiffs in the case had asked the court to halt the sales.
The American Soybean Association said it was pleased with the ruling and that the court had granted both CropLife America’s and a grower coalition’s requests to file an amicus brief. The grower request was filed June 16 by ASA, American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cotton Council of America, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, and National Sorghum Producers, and supports EPA’s existing stocks decision.
“American growers and the public are fortunate that a proper administrative and judicial-review framework exists,” ASA said.
“Farmers use countless FIFRA-regulated pesticide products, including herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. They make planting decisions and significant, up-front financial investments based on the rules and regulations in place at the time plans are made. Soy farmers are dependent on those rules not changing in the middle of the game and are glad the court got it right in these orders.”
Meanwhile, House Agriculture Committee ranking member Michael Conaway, R-Texas, and House Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Sanford Bishop, D-Ga. and ranking member Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., said in a joint statement, “We respect the court’s ruling, but we are concerned with the impact on the farmers who have existing stocks of previously purchased dicamba herbicide products.”
“The decision, which was issued during growing season, creates unnecessary challenges and jeopardizes the livelihoods of these agricultural producers who are already faced with an ongoing global pandemic, trade disputes, and years of low prices.“
“We support EPA’s authority to regulate how existing stocks of the vacated products can be sold, distributed, and used. EPA’s recent filing with the court properly defends the agency’s precedent-based position that farmers should be allowed to use what they legally purchased until July 31, 2020 as long as the farmers abide by all the prescribed conditions of use required by the most recent pesticide registration.”