The U.S. Department of Justice has requested a rehearing of a pesticide case before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The court’s original decision directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban chlorpyrifos, a common and useful pesticide, within 60 days.
United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was pleased to hear the DOJ had requested a rehearing in front of the full panel (en banc) of 9th Circuit Court of Appeal judges.
“USDA disagrees with the court’s original ruling ordering EPA to revoke tolerances and cancel registrations for chlorpyrifos,” says Perdue. “Their decision appears to be based on a misunderstanding of both the available scientific information and EPA’s pesticide regulatory system.”
The USDA and other groups have pointed out significant flaws in the draft chlorpyrifos assessments on which the court based its opinion. “We support the EPA’s conclusion that the available scientific evidence does not indicate the need for a total ban on the use of chlorpyrifos,” adds Perdue. “The EPA should be allowed to continue its ongoing science-based and expert-led evaluation of chlorpyrifos, which is part of the EPA’s registration review that covers all pesticides.”
Chlorpyrifos, due to its efficacy and broad-spectrum activity across multiple pests, is used on more than 50 crops grown throughout the United States. For some crops and target pests, chlorpyrifos is the only line of defense, with no alternatives.
Chlorpyrifos has key uses for soil insects and its continued registration has been supported by several cotton state Extension entomology specialists. “Chlorpyrifos helps farmers and consumers by improving production efficiency and contributing to public health and safety,” says Perdue.
Perdue hopes a review by all judges rather than a smaller panel of judges will render a decision in favor of the pesticide.