IARN — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Tuesday afternoon that the embattled weed control product known as dicamba would be reregistered for use in 2021. The surprising part was that EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler cleared the use of the product for the next five years. This changes the precedent set in previous registrations of two years at a time. Administrator Wheeler said this can give farmers the certainty they need to have a the weed control tool in their tool box.
The product became embroiled in June when the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the EPA’s 2018 registration of Dicamba. The court specifically se their sites on specifically on Bayer’s Xtendimax, BASF’s Engenia and Corteva’s FeXapan. However, Syngenta’s Tavium product was left alone as it came out after the lawsuit had been filed.
The timing of the ruling was a big thorn in the side of farmers as the court issued the decision right at the time that farmers needed to be applying the chemical safely and effectively. The EPA then issued a decision that Farmers who had taken delivery by June 3rd were able to use the product. This meant just about all farmers could use it.
The caveat to the ruling was that it only struck down the 2018 registration. It was up for reregistration this year. Because of this, more effort was put forth by the Ag companies to make sure their plans could get approved and done so in a way that would give their customers certainty. Today’s ruling does that.
Don’t expect it to be business as usual though. The ruling today grants the EPA full control over the application of the product. Gone are the state by state mandates that we have come to know. There will be a National cutoff date for soybean and cotton producers. There will also be an increase in the buffer zone. Administrator Wheeler says that by instituting these changes they are addressing the concerns raised last June in the 9th Circuit Court Decision.
This does not mean that there may not be another legal challenge to this decision. Environmental groups are almost certain to issue challenges, likely in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals again. The court has a long history of going after the Agriculture industry in favor of environmental concerns. It is also the most overturned court by the Supreme Court of the United States. (SCOTUS). With a precedent in this year’s ruling, they will have a chance to go after this new registration. However, there can be counter rulings in other circuit courts that would force the issue to the SCOTUS.
Look for more information as it becomes available.
Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network