The U.S. Department of Justice is pushing a federal appeals court to reconsider their decision on the pesticide chlorpyrifos more than a month after a three-judge panel ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to ban it.
Clorpyrifos is a pesticide primarily used on corn as well as dozens of other crops such as soybeans, fruit trees and broccoli. For more than a decade, critics have fought to ban the pesticide from use, citing adverse health effects in children.
In late 2016, the EPA reassessed the health impacts of the pesticide and proposed a ban on its use in food and water sources; however, in March 2017 the agency reversed course and declined to ban the chemical.
On August 9, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the commonly-used pesticide within two months.
But the Department of Justice is seeking a hearing on the ban before the full panel of judges, or en banc, in front of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The department filed its appeal on September 24, citing the three-judge panel violated Supreme Court precedent when it ordered the EPA to ban chlorpyrifos , according to The Hill.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue commended the Department of Justice’s request for a rehearing.
“Given the court’s incorrect assessment of the scientific evidence, we thank the Department of Justice for continuing to fight on behalf of American farmers and consumers in support of science-based regulatory oversight of crucial crop protection tools,” said Perdue in a written statement released on September 24.
Perdue said the Court’s earlier decision was based on a misunderstanding of the available scientific information and EPA’s pesticide regulatory program.
“The costs of an incorrect decision on chlorpyrifos are expected to be high and would cause serious impacts to American farmers working to feed, fuel, and clothe the United States and the world. This ruling, which would mean the sudden and total loss of chlorpyrifos, prevents farmers from using an effective and economical crop protection tool,” Perdue said.
More than 45 agricultural organizations have sent letters to Perdue and the EPA opposing the ban.
A recent letter outlined common concerns for many organizations, among them was the decision lead by the Court, “ordering EPA to rush into registration cancellation, the Court would force EPA to violate the longstanding procedural safeguards and other requirements.”
Dow Chemical Co. created chloryrifos in the 1960s and belongs to the family of organophosphate pesticides that are know to be similar to nerve gas used in World War II by Nazi Germany, according to CBS News.
Roughly 5 million pounds of chloryrifos are sold each year through Dow AgroSciences, making it one of the most extensively used pesticides in U.S. agriculture.