Court ruling a win for treated seeds, EPA process

Court ruling a win for treated seeds, EPA process

A CALIFORNIA federal court ruled in favor of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and an industry coalition — including CropLife America (CLA), American Seed Trade Assn., Agricultural Retailers Assn., National Cotton Council of America, American Soybean Assn., National Association of Wheat Growers and National Corn Growers Assn. ("intervenors") — in Anderson vs. EPA, a lawsuit brought against EPA by a number of plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs had asked the court to order EPA to regulate seeds treated with pesticides as if the seeds were the pesticides themselves, the result of which would be to unnecessarily duplicate EPA's science-based regulatory review of the active ingredients used in treatment products. The court ruled in favor of EPA and the intervenors and against the plaintiffs on each of the plaintiffs' claims.

The court found that the 2013 Bee Guidance document on which the plaintiffs had relied was neither an "agency action" nor "final" under the Administrative Procedure Act and that the plaintiffs' claims were not reviewable by a court. The court also denied the plaintiffs' request to seek additional documents and information from EPA to support their claims.

"CLA applauds the court for reinforcing the importance of decisions built on the foundation of established science-based reviews of crop protection products," said Jay Vroom, president and chief executive officer of CLA. "Our members depend on the consistency of the regulatory process to ensure they are able to get new and more advanced products to market while ensuring these products have been thoroughly tested for environmental and human health safety."

This decision protects growers' ability to continue using seed treatment technology that is vital to American agriculture, permits EPA to retain its current regulatory approach for treated seeds and allows EPA and the agricultural value chain to continue their important work on pollinator health issues.

CLA is an active member of a number of coalitions addressing the issue of pollinator health through research and innovation. "We believe that an engaged partnership between farmers and beekeepers is an integral piece to long-term pollinator health," CLA said.

American Soybean Assn. president Richard Wilkins, who farms in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed in Greenwood, Del., stated that the ruling is a big step forward in the push for a science-based system, and he hopes that it will signal a respect for pragmatic regulation moving forward.

"The federal ruling underscores how activists use lawsuits to force duplicative additional regulations to tie up farmer productivity. Our farmers make their decisions based on science and, as such, need regulations based on that same sound science," Wilkins said.

Volume:88 Issue:12

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