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Ag coalition presents arguments in California glyphosate case

Agricultural groups state Prop 65 listing of glyphosate should be halted.

On Tuesday, a national agricultural coalition presented arguments for a preliminary injunction before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California for why California's Proposition 65 listing of glyphosate should be halted until a final ruling is decided by the court and the judge has considered all of the facts.

In seeking a preliminary injunction, the coalition members stated that they would sustain significant reputational damage if forced to falsely label their products, placing them at a competitive disadvantage and threatening the agricultural supply chain by forcing farmers to stop using a preferred method of production that is already regulated by the federal government to ensure consumer safety.

The injunction also notes that forcing the coalition members to falsely label their product violates their First Amendment freedoms. Legal precedent makes clear that the loss of First Amendment freedoms -- even for minimal periods of time -- unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.

National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) chief executive officer Chandler Goule said, “It’s important for the California judge to have all the facts in hand, since the state ignored facts, data and science when it added glyphosate to the state’s Prop 65 list. In short, the preliminary injunction we are seeking would halt the implementation of the Prop 65 listing until a final ruling is decided by the court.”

Goule stated that hundreds of studies and conclusions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institutes of Health have made it clear that glyphosate is safe for use. Further regulatory authorities in Europe, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Australia have publicly reaffirmed that glyphosate does not cause cancer.

“Glyphosate is a safe and effective tool used to control weeds prior to planting or after wheat is harvested. It is one of modern agriculture’s most valuable tools and an industry standard across the world,” he said.

Ahead of the hearing, NAWG president Gordon Stoner said, “While farmers are readying our fields and making plans to put seeds in the ground, California is engaging in aggressive legal wrangling, placing us at risk to crippling liability for using a product that hundreds of studies and the U.S. EPA say is safe for use. We intend to make clear in this hearing that agriculture is under attack and implementation of this erroneous Prop 65 listing for glyphosate should be halted until there is a final ruling from the judge.” 

NAWG is the lead plaintiff in the case against California filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. The plaintiffs include the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Agricultural Retailers Assn., Associated Industries of Missouri, Iowa Soybean Assn., Missouri Chamber of Commerce & Industry, CropLife America, Missouri Farm Bureau, National Corn Growers Assn., North Dakota Grain Growers Assn., South Dakota Agri-Business Assn. and U.S. Durum Growers Assn.

In December, the groups filed a temporary injunction asking the court to halt the regulation.

The attorneys general in Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin filed an amicus brief in support of the preliminary injunction the agricultural groups sought. In addition, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the California Chamber of Commerce filed their own amicus brief in support of the preliminary injunction to halt the regulation.

“We will continue to respond to any court requests for more information and data and will continue to advocate for farmers and consumers with facts, science and data that make it clear that glyphosate is safe for use,” Goule concluded.

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