Court Backs Enlist Duo

EPA Motion to Pull Plug on Product's Registration Denied

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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Enlist Duo herbicide, which contains a mix of glyphosate and a new formulation of 2,4-D, received EPA registration in a select number of corn states in fall 2014. The genetically-engineered trait package that offers crop tolerance to those two herbicides was approved for corn and soybeans September 2014 and for cotton, July 2015. (Logo courtesy of Dow AgroSciences)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Dow AgroSciences' Enlist Duo herbicide has been given a reprieve. On Monday, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) motion to pull the plug on the product's registration.

In court documents filed with the Ninth Circuit in November, EPA argued that it needed to withdraw the Enlist Duo registration because Dow AgroSciences had provided "new information" that could change Enlist Duo's registration.

"Dow AgroSciences agrees with the decision of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to deny EPA's motion to vacate the Enlist Duo registration," Dow AgroSciences said in a statement to DTN/Progressive Farmer Wednesday.

"Dow AgroSciences will continue to work cooperatively with the U.S. EPA concerning Enlist Duo. As a result of the decision, the current U.S. registration for Enlist Duo remains fully intact for all labeled uses."

When contacted by EPA Wednesday, an agency spokesperson provided the following statement: "EPA is reconsidering Enlist Duo's registration. The agency is awaiting new data from the manufacturer and will review that information to determine next steps. Meanwhile, Enlist Duo remains in effect and the product can continue to be sold at this time."

In a court document filed with the Ninth Circuit in November, EPA stated that because the agency has "new information regarding potential synergistic effects between the two ingredients on non-target plants, EPA seeks a voluntary remand in order to reconsider the Enlist Duo registration in light of the new information."

In court documents, the agency said it "cannot be sure, without a full analysis of the new information, that the current registration does not cause unreasonable effects to the environment, which is a requirement of the registration standard under FIFRA (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act)."

Enlist Duo herbicide, which contains a mix of glyphosate and a new formulation of 2,4-D, received EPA registration in a select number of corn states in fall 2014. The genetically-engineered trait package that offers crop tolerance to those two herbicides was approved for corn and soybeans September 2014 and for cotton, July 2015.

In April 2015 the EPA granted final approval of Enlist Duo herbicide for use in corn and soybean in nine additional states, bringing the total to 15 states. A label for Enlist Duo is still pending in cotton.

Dow AgroSciences conducted research, seed production and "stewarded" trials for Enlist corn and soybean seed in 2015. The company has so far withheld full commercial release of Enlist products pending Chinese approval of the genetically engineered Enlist trait. China has a recent history of being slow to approve a number of U.S.-approved traits and has refused U.S. corn that contained unapproved traits.

However, Dow announced earlier this month that it plans to launch Enlist cotton for the 2016 season -- with or without a corresponding 2,4-D herbicide. A 2016 commercial launch of Enlist corn is pending China approvals and Enlist soybeans will continue to be managed as part of a program for seed production in 2016, according to company sources.

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Editor's note: DTN/The Progressive Farmer Crops Technology Editor Pam Smith and DTN Staff Reporter Emily Unglesbee contributed to this report.

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

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Todd Neeley