Last week a group of farmers and environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit (Nat’l Family Farm Coal. v. EPA , 9th Cir., No. 17-70196, 1/20/17) against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contesting the agency’s approval of the use of Monsanto’s Xtendimax dicamba herbicide on dicamba-resistant GMO soybeans and cotton.
Per the pleadings, petitioners charge the EPA with violating “its duties under FIFRA in issuing the conditional registration.” The suit also alleges the agency violated its duties under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), “by failing to consult with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service to insure that conditionally registering dicamba for uses on genetically engineered cotton and soybean in the thirty-four states will not jeopardize any listed species or destroy or adversely modify any of their critical habitats.”
George Kimbrell, an attorney for petitioner Center for Food Safety, stated, “Federal regulators have abandoned the interests of farmers, the environment and public health. We won’t allow our food to be dragged backward into a pesticide-soaked nightmare—not without a hell of a fight.”
The EPA approved the weedkiller last November and in a press release stated that, “Weeds that are becoming increasingly resistant to glyphosate-based herbicides cause problems for farmers. This registration will provide an additional tool to reduce the spread of glyphosate resistant weeds. This final decision is designed to ensure that weed resistance is successfully managed, including reporting by the registrant to EPA of any suspected resistance, as well as remediation and grower education.” The EPA also provided restrictions for use of the pesticide. In order to reduce spray drift, the herbicide may not be applied by aircraft or used when wind speeds are above 15 miles an hour.
A copy of the lawsuit is available here.