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Farm Groups Ramp up Battle To Keep Using Banned Pesticide To Grow Food

A powerful contingent of agricultural and produce grower groups this week filed the latest salvo in a years-long battle over the pesticide chlorpyrifos, seeking to reverse a new rule banning the chemical from use in U.S. food production.

The move comes after health and environmental advocates successfully forced the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last year to announce a ban on the use of chlorpyrifos in farming due to scientific evidence showing the chemical damages children’s brains.

Calling chlorpyrifos a “pest control tool that is critical” for growing crops, the coalition of 19 state and U.S. food and agricultural groups and one chemical company on Tuesday filed their opening brief against the EPA in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The plaintiffs include the Red River Sugarbeet Growers Association, the U.S. Beet Sugar Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, and other grower groups representing sugar, soybean, wheat, cotton and fruit and vegetable producer organizations.

The groups allege that the EPA action to ban chlorpyrifos was “unlawful” and lacks a scientific basis. The petition states that growers face a “concrete and particularized” and “actual or imminent” injury because of the ban, and notes that the chemical is particularly important to growers of cherries, sugarbeets and soybeans.