One week ago several environmental groups sent out a joint news release saying EPA was revoking registration of Enlist Duo for 2016. Within 24 hours, Dow AgroSciences issued a statement saying the company was confident that the technology was safe for the environment. The company also said that farmers could expect to have Enlist Duo available for use on corn by planting season in 2016.
Recent information released by Dow AgroSciences removes some of the smoke from the issue and provides insight into why EPA may have acted in the first place.
First, the actual document filed by EPA with the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Ninth District indicates that EPA's concern was about possible synergies between 2,4-D and glyphosate. The document stated that EPA had received new information which raised questions about the issue.
In a fact sheet released by Dow AgroSciences today, Dow makes these points.
First, Dow had filed a claim of synergy between 2,4-D choline, the new formulation of 2,4-D Dow developed, and glyphosate with the U.S Patent and Trademark Office during the original Enlist Duo review process.
Two, Dow AgroSciences ultimately 'expressly abandoned' that claim when a thorough review of all data generated found the synergies were not present in the final formulation selected for Enlist Duo.
Third, the company didn't provide the information to EPA because the agency doesn't typically ask for that type of data, technology providers typically apply for synergy-related patents without the action causing concern for regulatory evaluation, and finally, questions of synergies on mixtures on plants had never before been a focus of EPA's regulatory decision-making.
Data requirements for a patent filing are different than those for a pesticide registration, officials add.
More data to EPA >>
What EPA asked for from the ninth circuit court, according to Dow, was time to evaluate the synergy 'outside of the context of the activist litigation.'
Dow AgroSciences says it has now provided EPA with data showing that the final formulation does not show synergy that would be of concern for non-target threatened or endangered plant species. The company has also asked EPA to 'promptly' do one of three things. One- determine that the current label does not need adjusting for 2016, or, two, amend the label, if necessary, in time for use in 2016, or three, if the Court vacates the current registration, issue a new registration so that the product can still be used by farmers in 2016. Dow AgroSciences is basing their plea on the 'pressing needs for Enlist technology to combat resistant weeds.'
What's the bottom line? Dow AgroSciences remains confident Enlist Dupo is safe to the environment and believes it will be available for use in 2016. What actually happens and the timeline may depend on Court action. It also will depend on how EPA reacts to either Dow's requests or court action.