Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael S. Regan, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, and Matthew M. Graves of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington D.C. are all being sued over some popular herbicides.
The Center for Food Safety, the Pesticide Action Network North America, and Nacional De Campesinas have sued the EPA charging that continued approval of the herbicides Enlist One and Enlist Duo are unlawful actions.
Enlist One and Enlist Duo (Enlist products) are both herbicides containing the choline salt of 2,4-dichloro phenoxy acetic acid choline salt (“2,4-D”), an active ingredient with highly toxic effects on crops, plants, pollinators, and other species. Enlist Duo contains two active ingredients–2,4-D and glyphosate dimethylammonium salt (“glyphosate”),3 whereas Enlist One only contains 2,4-D.4
Both Enlist products are approved for controlling weeds in corn, soybean and cotton operations in 34 states. Enlist products can be sprayed on corn, soybean and cotton crops that have been genetically engineered to be resistant to 2,4-D (i.e., Enlist-resistant crops) throughout the growing season. Specifically, both Enlist products can be applied “any time before or after planting, but before [crops] emerge (pre-plant through preemergence), as well as after Enlist-resistant crops have emerged from the soil (postemergence).”
In a 105-page brief, the three non-governmental organizations claim that the EPA ignored the adverse effects the Enlist products have on communities and the environment. “EPA unlawfully ignored the environment and public risks of Enlist herbicides,” said Kristina Sinclair, the attorney, and counsel for the Plaintiffs. She said the herbicides are also causing harm to endangered species across the country.
“This is an administrative law case for declaratory and equitable relief challenging EPA’s failure to properly evaluate the risks of two harmful herbicides – Enlist One and Enlist Duo (which includes glyphosate) – as required under FIFRA and the ESA,” according to the complaint.
“Shortly before EPA decided to extend the registrations for these herbicides for an additional seven years, until 2027, the Ninth Circuit held that EPA’s previous registrations for these herbicides were unlawful. In its rush to renew the registrations for Enlist One and Enlist Duo, EPA again failed to comply with its statutory duties. EPA also ignored new evidence confirming that both herbicides have harmful effects on the environment and local communities, including the health of those exposed to the herbicides through work on nearby farms,” it continued.
The plaintiffs say Enlist One and Enlist Duo are herbicides “containing a highly toxic and harmful active ingredient known as 2,4-D.” Enlist Duo also contains the active ingredient glyphosate. These herbicides are sold across the country for over-the-top use on corn, soybean, and cotton crops that have been genetically engineered to be resistant to 2,4-D, glyphosate, and glufosinate.
“Although these herbicides are marketed as a “solution” to glyphosate-resistant weeds in corn, soybean, and cotton production,” the complaint says they threaten to increase the spread of new herbicide-resistant weeds because EPA failed to properly mitigate risks, making it harder for farmers to manage troublesome weeds. Moreover, these herbicides threaten to damage crops, native plants, and wildlife habitats in surrounding areas.
The complaint says “Mounting evidence shows that Glyphosate has the potential to cause serious health problems, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The EPA’s approval of Enlist Duo fails to grapple with the real-world and laboratory evidence of the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate, despite the conclusions of scientists and researchers inside and outside EPA,” it adds.
The EPA and the Department of Justice have 21 days to respond to the summons, which notified them of the lawsuit. The response is made to the plaintiff’s attorney.
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