EPA Challenged on Insecticide Approval

Food Safety Groups Tell Federal Court EPA Didn't Comply With Order on Chemical

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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Two food safety groups asked a federal appeals court to order EPA to conduct an Endangered Species Act determination on the insecticide cyantraniliprole. (DTN file photo)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- Although ordered by a federal court in 2017 to conduct an Endangered Species Act review of the insecticide cyantraniliprole, the EPA has yet to conduct such a review and has not made plans to do so, a new lawsuit filed by a food safety group alleges.

The Center for Biological Diversity and the Center for Food Safety asked a federal appeals court to grant an order requiring EPA to conduct an ESA analysis as "expeditiously as possible and in no event later than six months of granting the petition or, if EPA fails to do so, the CTP registrations are vacated."

Cyantraniliprole is the active ingredient in both Corteva Agriscience's Lumiderm seed treatment and Syngenta's Fortenza. Cyantraniliprole is a Group 28 insecticide (diamides). Fortenza is available for use in Canada in canola, corn and soybeans to target pests such as wireworm, cutworm and European chafer. Lumiderm is registered in Canada for use in canola and soybeans to control flea beetles, cutworms, bean leaf beetles and soybean aphids.

The groups said in a petition filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit last week, the agency had "disregarded" the court's remand order for "four and one-half years and ignored its congressionally-mandated duties in the ESA for nearly eight years."

The court ruled in June 2017 that EPA violated the ESA by registering the insecticide "before making an ESA effects determination or consulting with other agencies.

"This court noted that the ESA duty is mandatory, and an agency 'may not duck its consultation requirement, whether based on limited resources, agency priorities or otherwise,'" the groups said in their petition.

"This court remanded the CTP registration to EPA without vacatur 'for proceedings consistent with this opinion.' Nonetheless, EPA has not complied with this court's remand order to date."

EPA registered cyantraniliprole on Jan. 24, 2014. By statute, the agency was required to make an ESA-effects determination before issuing final registration.

"EPA intentionally decided to register CTP without complying with Congress's mandate then and has ducked it since," the petition said.

"In so doing, EPA has effectively nullified this court's determination that it violated the ESA and rendered the regulatory scheme that Congress crafted archaic. The Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Food Safety, petitioners in the prior case, seek mandamus relief because there is no reason to believe that the agency will act without an order from the court directing EPA to comply with the law by a date certain and vacating EPA's action if it fails to meet the deadline."

Documents obtained by the groups in a Freedom of Information Act, they said in a news release, show EPA "failed to take even the most rudimentary steps to begin assessing harms" from cyantraniliprole.

According to an EPA ecological risk assessment, https://www.regulations.gov/…, cyantraniliprole is "slightly to moderately toxic to freshwater fish; slightly toxic to estuarine/marine fish; slightly to very highly toxic to freshwater invertebrates; moderately to highly toxic to estuarine/marine invertebrates, highly toxic to benthic invertebrates; highly to very highly toxic to terrestrial insects."

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Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

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Todd Neeley

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