SEVERE WX : Winter Storm Warning - Blizzard Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now
CLOSINGS: View Closings

EPA is ordered to ban farm pesticide chlorpyrifos

A federal court on Thursday ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to ban a pesticide used widely in fa...

Posted: Aug 10, 2018 10:38 AM
Updated: Aug 10, 2018 10:38 AM

A federal court on Thursday ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to ban a pesticide used widely in farming.

The 2-1 ruling on a lawsuit brought by public health groups and state attorneys general ordered the agency "to revoke all tolerances and cancel all registrations for chlorpyrifos within 60 days."

Agricultural chemicals

Agriculture

Agriculture, forestry, and commercial fishing

Animals and society

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Chemical industry and chemicals

Environment and natural resources

Environmental Protection Agency

Environmental regulation and policy

Government organizations - US

Pesticides

Pests and pest control

Science

Society

US federal departments and agencies

US government independent agencies

Concerns that the insecticide can harm the brain and nervous system led to the EPA banning the household use of chlorpyrifos in 2000. But the agency had allowed the chemical to continue to be used in commercial agriculture, where, some scientists say, it can be used in safe quantities.

"EPA is reviewing the decision," spokesman Michael Abboud said in a statement on Thursday. He wrote that the data behind a Columbia University scientific study considered by the Obama administration and the court during their reviews of the pesticide "remains inaccessible" to the agency.

The EPA and the courts have considered an outright ban on the chemical since 2007, when public health groups petitioned the agency, and in August 2015, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the EPA to make a decision.

The Trump administration-led EPA made that decision in April 2017, when it ruled that a broader ban on the chemical was not warranted, citing "uncertainty" in the science linking chlorpyrifos to "neurodevelopmental effects." The administration said it would continue to review the science and make its next determination on the chemical's safety in 2022, as required by law.

Thursday's ruling, also by the 9th Circuit, overturns that decision.

The court blasted the agency -- under both Democratic and Republican leadership -- for having "stalled on banning chlorpyrifos."

"If Congress's statutory mandates are to mean anything, the time has come to put a stop to this patent evasion," the opinion reads.

Internal EPA emails released last summer appeared to show politics played a role in the administration's 2017 decision.

While the decision was under consideration, then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told chemical industry representatives in a meeting that "this is a new day, a new future, for a common sense approach to environmental protection," according to notes circulated among his staff. Another Trump administration appointee, Don Benton, said the agency was building "new relationships" with the industry "based on partnerships not on regulations and enforcement."

The agency's chief of staff, a political appointee, had suggested in an email that career scientists wanted the pesticide banned.

"I scared them Friday," Ryan Jackson wrote to a colleague. He wrote in a follow-up email that he had been joking when he suggested the career employees "are trying to strong arm us." But, he wrote, the career staffers "know where this is headed and they are documenting it well."

When the notes were released publicly because of a Freedom of Information Act request, the agency argued they had been taken "out of context," and noted that the review continues.

Article Comments

Mason City
Overcast
25° wxIcon
Hi: 22° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 11°
Albert Lea
Overcast
25° wxIcon
Hi: 21° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 12°
Austin
Overcast
27° wxIcon
Hi: 24° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 16°
Charles City
Overcast
25° wxIcon
Hi: 22° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 11°
Rochester
Overcast
23° wxIcon
Hi: 22° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 8°
Winter Storm Warning
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Chris' PM Weather Forecast 1/17

Image

Tow truck drivers prepare for snow

Image

Weather impacts on public transportation

Image

First at 4 Snow Storm

Image

Winter Weather can't stop early voters

Image

Winter kids activities

Image

Corn for snow fences

Image

Top of the 5 snow coverage

Image

Closing HIghways

Image

Winter Survival Kit

Community Events