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EPA Revocation of Tolerances for Chlorpyrifos is a Disturbing Precedent for Pesticide Regulation

Aug 18 2021

Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) President and CEO Daren Coppock released the following statement in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) action against chlorpyrifos:

“ARA is extremely disappointed in the decision to revoke all tolerances for chlorpyrifos. This product has been an essential tool for growers who need to control insect pests so they can deliver the quality produce consumers expect to grocery shelves.  

“EPA has been following a time-honored statutory process for the registration review of chlorpyrifos. Farmers, retailers, and the public all benefit from, and have the right to expect, a science-based process for reviews of pesticide products. In this case, however, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has substituted its judgement for the scientific expertise of the Agency and dictated to EPA a demand to revoke tolerances.

“Not only is this an unjustified usurpation of the Agency’s authority and expertise, but canceling tolerances for a product that remains registered for use creates uncertainty for users. The product is legal to apply for its registered use, but any residue means that the product that the application protected cannot be sold. By issuing this mandate, and EPA not fighting it, anti-pesticide activists have executed an end run around the statute that is supposed to govern these decisions. It’s a disturbing precedent from an Agency publicly committed to science-based decisions.

“ARA urges EPA to reconsider this decision and use every legal avenue available reassert its statutory authority to be the regulator of these products. If not, this will result in a flood of additional lawsuits by anti-chemical activists seeking the same end-run that will jeopardize the continued use of other essential pesticides. Consumers have benefited from a farmer’s ability to control pests and minimize damage to quality that can result without that control. This decision is problematic for this specific tool, but even more troubling is the precedent that may be set.”