EPA reduces exclusion zone around pesticide applicators

The EPA finalized a regulation on Thursday that reduces the size of the buffer zones intended to protect people from pesticides being applied on the farm. EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler said the new regulation would be simpler and easier to follow than its predecessor.

EPA approves dicamba on GE cotton and soybeans through 2025

The Trump administration approved the use of the weedkiller dicamba on genetically engineered cotton and soybeans for the next five years, saying new safeguards would tame a notoriously volatile herbicide blamed for damaging millions of acres of neighboring lands. Farm groups cheered the continued access to a "critically important weed control tool" and the Center for Food Safety, a skeptic of industrial agriculture, said it "will most certainly challenge these unlawful approvals."

Environmentalists, fishermen protest bill to allow open-ocean aquaculture

Environmental advocates, fishermen, and residents of several states on the Gulf of Mexico appeared at a virtual hearing on Wednesday protesting a bill and other measures to expand ocean aquaculture. Under the new legislation, which is looking to settle a long-running debate over the future of aquaculture in the United States, fish farming would be allowed in federal waters.

Ethanol backers prod administration to ‘finish the job’

A week after the EPA denied 54 retroactive waivers from the ethanol mandate, farm and biofuel groups urged the Trump administration on Wednesday to take additional steps to assure ethanol's role in the U.S. fuel supply. Their checklist included release of the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2021 and nationwide application of a court decision that greatly restricts RFS exemptions.

In farm-state victory, EPA denies retro-exemptions from biofuel mandate

The EPA rejected more than four dozen requests by small petroleum refiners for retroactive exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard, said agency chief Andrew Wheeler on Monday in a decision that potentially expands the sale of corn-based ethanol. The announcement came 50 days before the …

Block dicamba until weedkiller is under control, says report

The herbicide dicamba is too risky to use on row crops such as soybeans and cotton until independent research shows it won't evaporate and harm nearby crops and plants, said a report from three conservation and environmental groups on Wednesday. Dicamba is blamed for "off-target" damage on millions of acres of property, and the EPA is considering possible rules for its use on crops in the future.

Bayer abandons key provision in glyphosate settlement plan

Two weeks after agreeing to pay up to $9.6 billion to resolve thousands of cancer lawsuits against glyphosate, seed and ag-chemical giant Bayer is still looking for a way to handle future litigation against the weedkiller. A proposal to appoint a panel of experts to decide if glyphosate is carcinogenic — a pivotal question for cases filed in coming years — died on Wednesday following criticism from the federal judge handling the lawsuits.

Bayer to pay up to $11.3 billion to resolve glyphosate, dicamba litigation

Under the terms of an agreement announced Wednesday, seed and agribusiness giant Bayer will pay up to $10.9 billion to resolve lawsuits that accuse its Roundup herbicide of causing cancer, and an additional $400 million to settle litigation claiming crop damage caused by its dicamba weedkiller from 2015 to 2020.

Appellate court backs EPA on dicamba phase-out

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rejected an emergency motion for an immediate cutoff of farmer use of the weedkiller dicamba, a victory for the EPA plan to allow spraying of the herbicide on GE soybeans and cotton through July 31. The court voided EPA approval of versions of dicamba sold by Bayer, BASF and Corteva on June 3; a few days later, the EPA said farmers could use stocks already on the farm through the end of July.

Waive the RFS? That’s nonsense, says ethanol industry.

Biofuels groups hooted at an oil state request that the EPA waive the ethanol mandate because of the coronavirus pandemic. "Nonsensical," said the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) on Thursday. (No paywall)