The United States would ban the use of two classes of insecticides—organophosphates and neonicotinoids—and the herbicide paraquat under a bill unveiled by Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey on Monday. More than 100 pesticides would be affected, including chlorpyrifos, recently slated by the EPA for termination as an agricultural aid.
Ending 14 years of regulatory and court battles, the EPA announced on Wednesday that it would ban agricultural use of the insecticide chlorpyrifos, which has been linked to learning disorders and can cause nausea, dizziness, and confusion. Regulators ended residential use of the pesticide, which works by attacking the nervous systems of insects, two decades ago.
After blasting the EPA for "13 years of interminable delay," the federal appeals court in San Francisco on Thursday set a 60-day deadline for the agency to either ban agricultural use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos or set newer and safer exposure levels for the chemical. The dissenter in the 2-1 decision said the short time frame "virtually guarantees" a ban.
Hours after his inauguration, President Biden issued an executive order to review 48 actions by the Trump-era Environmental Protection Agency, including several controversial decisions on agricultural chemicals. Environmental and food safety groups saw the action as a welcome sign that the Biden EPA will begin to temper what they see as the agency's industry-friendly stance and prioritize the environment, public health, and science. (No paywall)
An agreement between pesticide manufacturers and the California EPA will cut off sales of the insecticide chlorpyrifos on Feb. 6 and ban virtually all use of the chemical in the state after next Dec. 31. It offers a much speedier schedule for withdrawing the chemical from the market in the No. 1 agricultural state than initially expected.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation said on Wednesday that it is sending notices to pesticide makers that it will cancel registration of chlorpyrifos in the state because of “detrimental human health effects associated with the products’ use.”
Eleven environmental, labor, and medical groups filed suit in a U.S. appeals court in California on Wednesday to ban use of the insecticide chlorpyrifos. It was the second time the groups have sought to force the EPA to ban the widely used organophosphate pesticide.
California environmental regulators announced on Wednesday that the state will prohibit use of the insecticide chlorpyrifos, a process that could take two years to complete. Even as California acted, the U.S. EPA was facing a court-imposed deadline of mid-July to decide on a federal ban of the pesticide.
The federal appeals court in San Francisco ordered the EPA to decide within 90 days — by mid-July — whether to ban agricultural use of the insecticide chlorpyrifos, already barred from residential use. Environmental groups have campaigned for years to take the organophosphate pesticide out of use in the United States.
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, announced a bill on Wednesday to effectively ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos from school food.
Facing an October deadline to ban the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, the EPA asked a federal appeals court on Monday for a rehearing of the case that resulted in the ban. The environmental law firm Earthjustice said the EPA request will postpone the court order of early August to ban the pesticide in 60 days.
On Thursday, the U.S Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals gave the federal government 60 days to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which is widely used in agriculture but criticized as a risk to children and farmworkers.
Syngenta announced this week that it will pay $550,000 in fines after the Environmental Protection Agency found that it misused the pesticide chlorpyrifos at a test field in Hawaii. The fine is dramatically lower than the nearly $5 million initially sought by the Obama administration. Scott Pruitt, Trump's EPA chief, overruled a recommendation by agency scientists to ban chlorpyrifos for agricultural use.
On the heels of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s eleventh-hour reversal last March of an Obama-era ban on chlorpyrifos — an insecticide that can permanently damage a child’s developing brain, according to the EPA’s own scientists — the agency is evaluating yet another family of controversial pesticides possibly linked to attention deficit disorders, cognitive problems, and autism.
A Trump administration appointee at EPA has taken an influential role in federal assessment of the risk posed by hazardous chemicals, "making it more aligned with the industry's wishes," reports the New York Times. The new approach includes the EPA decision in March to allow continued agriculture use of chlorpyrifos, an insecticide criticized as a risk to children and farmworkers.
The new EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, told a farm group, "[T]his is a new day, a new future, for a common-sense approach to environmental protection," in the weeks before the EPA announced it would allow continued agricultural use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, according to records obtained by the New York Times. Environmental groups say the records, provided through the Freedom of Information Act, show EPA was doing favors for industry; the EPA said it was following the science.
Scott Pruitt sued the EPA a dozen times as Oklahoma attorney general, so "no one is surprised" that he "is steadfastly rolling back many of the regulations he fought in court," says the Oklahoman. Critics and supporters share the view that Pruitt "is operating with an efficiency and zeal beyond that of his predecessors."
A group of Democratic Senators, led by Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, introduced a bill to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos over health concerns, after the EPA refused to take it off shelves earlier this spring. “Udall's bill calls for the EPA to conduct a broad review of the use of the pesticide to determine which groups are most vulnerable to its harmful effects,” says Reuters.
Although the EPA dragged its feet for a decade on whether to ban the insecticide chlorpyrifos, "it has now done what we ordered it to do" and made a decision, said the federal appellate court in San Francisco. For that reason, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals refused to consider a lawsuit by two environmental groups contesting EPA administrator Scott Pruitt's decision to keep the chemical, criticized as a risk to children and farm workers, available for use in agriculture.