EPA defends its decision that dicamba stocks may continue being applied


The EPA defended its decision to allow farmers to continue to use three vacated dicamba herbicides and asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to throw out a motion filed to hold the federal agency in contempt.

That emergency motion was filed a week ago by a group of farm and environmental organizations that had successfully brought a lawsuit against the EPA, which resulted in a panel of judges vacating the three registrations on June 3.

On June 8, the EPA issued an order canceling the registrations but allowing farmers to continue to apply existing stocks of the herbicides. Farmers have until July 31 to use their stocks.

On June 11, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit asked the Ninth Circuit to order an immediate halt to that use and hold the EPA in contempt, based on their argument that continued use violated the court’s order to vacate the registrations.

In a response filed late on June 16, the EPA argued that vacating the registrations does not technically affect the use of the now-unregistered herbicides.

”... Rescission of a pesticide registration (either by judicial or administrative action) only makes it illegal to distribute or sell that pesticide,” the agency’s response said. “It does not outlaw use of products already legally purchased.”