Groups File to Dismiss Ag Chemical Lawsuit


by Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — CropLife America and other interveners are seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit that could affect the use of hundreds of common agriculture chemicals across the country.

A motion was filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court Northern District of California seeking to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity in January 2011. In the motion, Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment, Southern Crop Production Association, Western Plant Health Association and Mid America CropLife Association, American Chemistry Council and Reckitt Benckiser LLC, argue that the CBD lawsuit is “fundamentally flawed” because it did not offer specific actions EPA should take that should have resulted in consultations with federal wildlife officials on the effects of the chemicals on of endangered species.

The American Farm Bureau Federation filed a motion in support of the motion to dismiss, according to court documents.

In its motion, CropLife America also makes a case that the CBD did not file the lawsuit in the correct jurisdiction and did not meet the statutory deadline for challenging a registration decision for those chemicals.

In a statement released Wednesday, CropLife America President and Chief Executive Officer Jay Vroom said the group “supports efforts to protect vulnerable species and their habitats, and we will continue to work with regulators to repair the ESA in order to protect and conserve the country’s endangered species.

“But while the ESA consultation process needs improvement, we believe the solution lies in stakeholder collaboration to develop a workable approach to pesticide ESA assessments rather than addressing such issues via costly and unnecessary litigation that needlessly keeps vital crop protection and pest control products from agricultural use.”

The interveners have asked the California court to consider the motion to dismiss during the first week of April.

Both sides in the lawsuit have been conducting settlement negotiations and are required to report to the court again in April.

Ag groups and other interveners have expressed concern that if the case is allowed to move forward without their input, many agricultural chemicals could be removed from the market while EPA is required to reconsider their effects on endangered species.

Crop Life America has said the potentially affected species are located in agricultural areas in every state except for Alaska, and initial estimates are that as many as 30,000 product-species combinations would have to be evaluated if the lawsuit is successful.

The Center for Biological Diversity had not filed a response to the motion as of Thursday morning.


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

Posted with DTN Permission by Haylie Shipp


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