OMAHA (DTN) -- EPA decided in July not to ban the insecticide chlorpyrifos, and now, environmental groups have petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Seattle to review that decision.
In July, EPA said it will expedite what is an ongoing review of chlorpyrifos in response to public concerns raised. The agency has until 2022 to complete its review.
Groups filing the petition include the League of United Latin American Citizens; Pesticide Action Network North America; Natural Resources Defense Council; California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation; Farmworker Association of Florida; Farmworker Justice; Labor Council for Latin American Advancement; Learning Disabilities Association of America; National Hispanic Medical Association Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste; and United Farm Workers.
"EPA has repeatedly found chlorpyrifos unsafe, especially to children, yet time and time again it refuses to protect kids," said Patti Goldman, the Earthjustice managing attorney leading the case. "But Earthjustice and our clients won't stand for this. The science and the law call for a chlorpyrifos ban. We are hopeful the courts will do the same for the sake of children and farmworkers."
The EPA had until July 18 to address objections to its 2007 decision rejecting a petition asking for a ban. The deadline was set as part of a court order issued on April 19, 2019, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.
Chlorpyrifos is the main ingredient in Corteva Agriscience's Lorsban insecticide, which targets soybean aphids, spider mites and corn rootworm.
The EPA has consistently maintained available science supports the human safety of chlorpyrifos, while environmental groups continue to say it is unsafe for humans.
An EPA spokesperson told DTN in July that the agency may at some point place new restrictions on chlorpyrifos.
The legal pursuit aimed at chlorpyrifos began in 2007 when the Pesticide Action Network North America and the Natural Resources Defense Council petitioned EPA to cancel the insecticide's registrations.
The EPA denied the petition and said at the time that farmers need chlorpyrifos, and the agency uses "sound science" when making decisions.
The agency's rejection of the 2007 petition was a surprising reversal from the stance of the EPA under the Obama administration, which had indicated as recently as fall 2016 that it was prepared to issue a full ban on the pesticide.
Todd Neeley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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