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Bayer Scraps U.S. Plans to Produce Crop Chemical Blocked by Court

Bayer AG said on Tuesday it will scrap a nearly $1 billion project to produce the chemical dicamba in the United States, but said the move is unrelated to a federal court decision that blocked sales of weed killers based on the product. 

The German-based company is moving to save cash as it wages an expensive legal battle to fight allegations that another product, its glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup, causes cancer. Bayer denies the claims. 

The company said it is halting work on a new dicamba plant in Luling, Louisiana, because global overcapacity for producing the chemical made the investment less attractive. Instead, Bayer will continue to buy dicamba and produce its XtendiMax herbicide at another plant in Iowa, according to a statement.

“Stopping construction enables us to preserve cash and prioritize our investments in new innovation for farmers,” Bayer said. 

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on June 3 that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency substantially understated the risks related to the use of dicamba, which is sprayed on soybeans and cotton that Bayer genetically engineered to resist the chemical. The herbicides are known to drift away and damage other crops that are not resistant.

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