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Court Dismisses Pesticide 'Mega' Lawsuit

Group says suit could have 'drastically changed' crop protection

Published on: Apr 29, 2013

A U.S. District Judge Tuesday dismissed a "mega" lawsuit put forth by two environmental groups against the Environmental Protection Agency, which alleged that registration of more than 380 chemicals may negatively impact 214 species in 49 states.

The EPA and crop protection group Crop Life America filed the motion to dismiss, claiming that the plaintiffs' complaint did not provide enough specificity regarding what actions EPA did or did not take.

The motion to dismiss also argued that the complaint was submitted in the wrong court and outside the statutory deadline established for challenging a pesticide registration decision under Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.

Group says suit could have drastically changed crop protection
Group says suit could have 'drastically changed' crop protection

The judge agreed and ruled that the plaintiffs – Center for Biological Diversity and Pesticide Action Network North America – have 30 days to file an amended complaint in accordance with the court's order, or have the option of appealing the ruling within 60 days.

CLA, which was granted intervenor status in June, 2011, just six months after the suit was filed, said if the court would have agreed to the demands of the plaintiffs, crop protection in the U.S. "would have been drastically altered by attempts to impede the pesticide registrations established under the FIFRA."

"Other similar lawsuits are still pending and threatening to limit U.S. agricultural competitiveness by taking away reliable tools that benefit farmers with no demonstrated, commensurate harm to endangered species," Joshua Saltzman, assistant general counsel for CLA, said.

He noted that the dismissal of the "mega" suit will bring conversations about crop protection products and wildlife protection out of the courtroom and into a "more collaborative venue."

Despite the disagreement, CLA President Jay Vroom said the industry is interested in hearing from wildlife experts to improve crop protection products and ensure wildlife habitats are safe.

"Modern agriculture and wildlife can and do coexist. Through a combination of advanced science, careful stewardship by farmers, the focused attention of capable regulators and collaboration with wildlife stakeholders, we can continue to develop solutions for the betterment of both wildlife and farming outcomes," Vroom said.

He added that the dismissal provides an opportunity to renew discussions on the role of modern farming technologies in endangered species protection.

Additional co-intervenors in the case include Mid America CropLife Association, Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment, Southern Crop Production Association and the Western Plant Health Association.

The American Chemistry Council, the AmCalifornia judge dismisses Endangered Species Act "Mega" lawsuiterican Farm Bureau Federation and Reckitt Benckiser, among others, are also intervenors in the case.

Read California judge dismisses Endangered Species Act "Mega" lawsuit on Farm Press for more information.