Ruling says EPA ignored clear evidence that the new herbicide would cause widespread damage to crops:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) broke the law in approving agricultural weedkilling products sold by Bayer and two other chemical giants, ignoring clear evidence that the new herbicides would cause widespread damage to crops, a federal court ruled on Wednesday.
The decision by the US court of appeals for the ninth circuit invalidates the registrations for dicamba-based herbicides made by Monsanto, which is owned by Bayer AG, BASF and Corteva Agrisciences that are designed to be sprayed on genetically engineered soybeans and cotton. The court order effectively makes it illegal for farmers to continue to use the dicamba herbicides this summer as they tend to millions of acres of crops.
In a stinging rebuke, the court said it had no choice but to cancel the EPA’s approval of the herbicides because the agency had strayed so far from its duty to properly assess the dangers presented by the “new use” of dicamba.
With the turn of the calendar to June, farmers in the U.S. Midwest are wrapping up the planting of new soybean crops and tending to growing fields of young corn plants and vegetable plots. But many are also bracing to be hit by an invisible enemy that has wreaked havoc in farm country the last few summers – the chemical weed killer dicamba.
Jack Geiger, a certified organic farmer in Robinson, Kansas, describes the last few summer growing seasons as characterized by “chaos,” and said he partially lost certification for one field of organic crops due to contamination with dicamba sprayed from afar. Now he is pleading with neighbors who spray the weed killer on their fields to make sure the chemical stays off his property.
“There is dicamba everywhere,” Geiger said.
Geiger is only one of hundreds of farmers around the U.S. Midwest and several southern states who have reported crop damages and losses they claim were caused by drifting dicamba over the last few years.