Ending the Use of 30,000 Chemical Combinations


by Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — A California court is giving both sides until Nov. 1 to complete settlement negotiations in a major lawsuit that could alter the way hundreds of pesticides are used across the country.

Intervenors in the Center for Biological Diversity's lawsuit filed against EPA in 2011, said in a status report filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California last week that they believed the negotiations were not moving fast enough and questioned whether the deadline could be met. The intervenors include CropLife America, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the American Chemistry Council.

CBD attorney Justin Augustine told DTN Monday that following a status conference Sept. 14, the court decided to allow both sides to continue negotiations.

“The court reaffirmed that we have until Nov. 1 to reach an agreement in principle — if we can,” he said. “We would then receive additional time to submit the agreement for public comment and to then finalize it.”

At that time, Augustine said, the court may choose to lift a stay on the case to consider motions, or either side can choose to ask for a deadline extension.

On Jan. 20, 2011, the CBD and other environmental groups filed suit alleging EPA violated the Endangered Species Act by not consulting federal wildlife officials about the potential effects that pesticides and other ag chemicals would have on hundreds of species.

EPA had previously claimed, in essence, that by approving ag chemicals according to rules of the Federal Insecticide, Pesticide and Rodenticide Act, or FIFRA, the Endangered Species Act rules did not apply.

The lawsuit names some 300 registered pesticides and other ag chemicals and their potential effects on about 200 species. The lawsuit could affect some 30,000 ag chemical-endangered species combinations in all 50 states.

The intervenors said in a court filing that much of the hard work is yet to be done if a settlement is to be reached.

The ag intervenors have said that if the case is allowed to move forward without their input, many agricultural chemicals could be removed from the market while EPA reconsiders the chemicals' effects on endangered species.

The ag groups said it is unlikely a settlement will be reached by Nov. 1, and asked the court to move forward with the process to hear arguments on a motion to dismiss the case.

Settlement negotiations between plaintiffs and the EPA have been ongoing since May 2011. Plaintiffs have asked for interim restrictions on how all pesticides named in the lawsuit could be used until EPA makes individual determinations about permanent restrictions.

The intervenors, representing ag and ag industry interests, said in a status report that such interim restrictions could be put in place indefinitely.

Both sides in the negotiations have reached a point where they are beginning to examine how or if the chemicals should be restricted, the intervenors' status report said.


© Copyright 2012 DTN/The Progressive Farmer, A Telvent Brand. All rights reserved.

Posted with DTN Permission by Haylie Shipp



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