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Ninth Circuit Court denies move by EPA to vacate herbicide label

Ninth Circuit Court denies move by EPA to vacate herbicide label
Dow AgroSciences scores a win to keep Enlist Duo herbicide available to growers for 2016 season.

Ag media was abuzz late last fall when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed a petition to vacate the label for Enlist Duo claiming the need for further study of potential synergies between 2,4-D choline and glyphosate - the active ingredients in the product.

While it was implied that the label was "gone" because of the EPA move, in fact Enlist Duo was always in force, awaiting the next move by the court based on the agency request. This week the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied EPA's motion to vacate the Enlist Duo registration.

In a short statement issued by the company Dow AgroSciences says it will "continue to work cooperatively with the U.S. EPA concerning Enlist Duo."

Worries over whether Enlist Duo herbicide would be available for 2016 were lifted with news that the courts denied EPA's move to vacate the product's label.

As a result of the court decision, the company can continue to market the product and the registration for Enlist Duo remains fully intact for all labeled uses. Joe Vertin, global business leader for Enlist, spoke with Penton Agriculture about the decision: "It was confusing at the time that the EPA filed their motion asking the court to direct them to vacate the registration in November. Technically, the registration was never canceled. Today, the court officially denied EPA’smotion to vacate."

The company will continue moving forward with its plans for 2016, with the next hurdle being a China import approval for Enlist corn. In 2015, Dow AgroSciences conducted an innovative "stewarded introduction" of the Enlist system in corn allowing only farmers that would raise and feed the corn on their farms to buy the seed and use Enlist Duo.

"For 2016, if we have approval from China we're moving forward with a full launch for corn, ," Vertin says.

For now Enlist Duo is labeled in just 15 states including Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Vertin notes that effort will be made in 2016 to expand the number of states where the herbicide may be used.

As for Enlist soybeans, they will continue with the Field Forward program providing what Vertin says is an opportunity for "growers to experience the technology in accordance with seed production. " The company is looking toward 2017 for a commercial launch of the Enlist system in soybeans pending import approvals.

Earlier this year the company  launched the Enlist trait in cotton; however, EPA has not approved registration for the use of Enlist Duo on cotton. Enlist Duo will be available to cotton growers when the herbicide is cleared for use in the future.

TAGS: Soybeans
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