Great News – Court Requires EPA to Ban Dangerous Chemical It Said It Wouldn’t

With the Trump administration’s EPA unwilling to take even the most commonsense actions to help the environment and public safety, thank goodness we have a judicial system that’s willing to intervene sometimes. On Thursday, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ordered the EPA to follow through with banning chlorpyrifos, a pesticide that research has pretty solidly connected to a bunch of health risks.

The EPA has just 60 days to eliminate chlorpyrifos use entirely, which is no small feat considering that the insecticide is one of the most widely used in the country.

The judges presiding over the case ruled that the EPA failed to provide any reasonable defense to justify its decision to stall on chlorpyrifos action, even though inaction is in defiance of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act’s proclamation that chemicals that cause health problems cannot be used to treat food.

Indeed, the judges were right in calling out EPA’s lack of defense. Under the Obama administration, the EPA was slow enough in deciding to put chlorpyrifos out of commission despite research showing its effects on cognitive functioning, particularly in children. Then when Scott Pruitt took over, he quickly decided to reverse the planned ban, offering no real explanation other than that he wanted absolute scientific proof before burdening farmers.

A few months later, we learned that Pruitt decided to reverse the ban after taking a meeting with the CEO of Dow Chemical, the company that makes chlorpyrifos. Surprise, surprise – Pruitt decided to side with industry profits over the safety of farmers and neighboring communities.

That decision had pretty immediate consequences – two months after Pruitt switched the EPA’s planned action, dozens of farmers got sick after finding themselves downwind of chlorpyrifos spray.

When Scott Pruitt failed to take action, a Care2 petition called on Matthew Rodriguez, EPA Secretary for California, to take action since his state is the country’s agricultural leader. While Rodriguez commendably did strengthen the rules for chlorpyrifos use, he fell well short of banning it altogether. Therefore, this new ban demanded by the court is a much better outcome, particularly since it applies to the entire nation.

Marisa Ordonia, an attorney for Earth Justice who argued the case, was thrilled with the result. “We’re happy that the EPA is finally going to have to do its job and act to protect children and farm workers especially – but all of us,” she said.

Truthfully, it’s pretty ridiculous that it took a lawsuit to compel the EPA to do the right thing and give a damn about safety, but we’ll have to count our victories where we can under this current administration.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

107 comments

Marie W
Marie W1 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Hristina B
Hristina B4 months ago

Good news

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rachel r
Past Member 4 months ago

Thank you.

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Alexandra Richards
Alexandra Richards5 months ago

Thank you.

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Kyle N
Kyle N5 months ago

We Farmers need it as an important tool to combat soybean aphids in events of an outbreak. If we get a year of spidermites, that insecticide is the ONLY Effective Control option.

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Dave fleming
Past Member 5 months ago

Thanks for sharing .

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Carole R
Carole R6 months ago

Finally, a bit of sanity.

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Carol C
Carol C7 months ago

Thank you, 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Hope that the EPA will actually abide by this ruling.

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Lisa M
Lisa M7 months ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M7 months ago

Thanks.

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