Federal Court Reverses EPA Approval of Crop-Harming Dicamba
"Today's decision is a massive win for farmers and the environment. It is good to be reminded that corporations like Monsanto and the Trump Administration cannot escape the rule of law, particularly at a time of crisis like this," lead counsel George Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety told U.S. Right to Know. "Their day of reckoning has arrived."
The Center for Food Safety sued the EPA together with National Family Farm Coalition, Center for Biological Diversity and Pesticide Action Network North America. The groups argued that the EPA broke the law when it ruled on the safety of a kind of dicamba designed by Monsanto to be sprayed widely over crops genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide. This method means the dicamba can drift to other, non-resistant crops.
The herbicide is believed to have damaged 3.6 million acres of soybeans in 2017, and more than 1 million in 2018, Bloomberg News reported.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the EPA "substantially understated the risks" of the herbicides and also "failed entirely to acknowledge other risks," according to U.S. Right to Know.
The court found @EPA refused to estimate the amount of dicamba damage, characterizing such damage as “potential” an… https://t.co/ev2bah3opD— carey gillam (@carey gillam)1591228144.0
One of the risks the EPA failed to acknowledge was the "enormous social cost to farming communities" where the herbicide's use "has turned farmer against farmer, and neighbor against neighbor," the court wrote, according to Bloomberg. A farmer was shot and killed because of a dicamba-related argument in Arkansas in 2016.
Bayer told Reuters that the ruling impacted a 2018 EPA approval that expires in December and that it is currently at work on a new 2021 approval.
"Depending upon actions by the EPA and whether the ruling is successfully challenged, we will work quickly to minimize any impact on our customers this season," Bayer said.
The ruling comes around four months after a jury ruled against Bayer and BASF and in favor of a Missouri farmer who said the companies' dicamba products destroyed his peach orchard, according to Bloomberg.
That was the first of around 140 pending dicamba suits awaiting trial.
The dicamba suits are not the only suits Bayer inherited when it acquired Monsanto, Reuters pointed out. Wednesday's dicamba decision came days after arguments were heard in an appeal of the first case to go to trial over whether or not the glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup causes cancer.
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By Brett Wilkins
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the meatpacking industry worked together to downplay and disregard risks to worker health during the Covid-19 pandemic, as shown in documents published Monday by Public Citizen and American Oversight.
<div id="13077" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="11b9fe5ff48ebc437353df6df9c2c892"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1305915938148147205" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Just a week before the Trump administration issued an executive order aimed at keeping meat packing plants open, th… https://t.co/DkbXgPm4YR</div> — ProPublica (@ProPublica)<a href="https://twitter.com/propublica/statuses/1305915938148147205">1600189597.0</a></blockquote></div>
<div id="36e4c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e7c8048c2755109629a3b3072fcb3261"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1304424041814593539" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Meatpacking union @UFCW, which reps workers at this plant (four of whom died), slams OSHA for the small $13k fine a… https://t.co/tnhfKd89ab</div> — Dave Jamieson (@Dave Jamieson)<a href="https://twitter.com/jamieson/statuses/1304424041814593539">1599833901.0</a></blockquote></div><p>The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents Smithfield Foods workers, <a href="https://www.argusleader.com/story/news/crime/2020/09/10/osha-fines-smithfield-foods-sioux-falls-south-dakota/5768786002/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=f7bf3f03-ce98-4df4-9c45-f44d9a6a5890" target="_blank">slammed</a> the fine as "insulting and a slap on the wrist."</p><p>"How much is the health, safety, and life of an essential worker worth? Based on the actions of the Trump administration, clearly not much," said UFCW president Marc Perrone.</p><p>"This so-called 'fine' is a slap on the wrist for Smithfield, and a slap in the face of the thousands of American meatpacking workers who have been putting their lives on the line to help feed America since the beginning of this pandemic," Perrone added. </p><p>Other critics, including vegans, vegetarians, and animal rights and environmental advocates argued that the accelerated spread of Covid-19 from meatpacking facilities is but the latest compelling argument in favor of reducing—or eliminating—meat consumption.</p><p>"We know that Covid-19 originated in a meat market and that previous influenza viruses originated in pigs and chickens," People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) <a href="https://www.peta.org/blog/meat-shortage-slaugherhouses-go-vegan/" target="_blank">said</a> in April amid news that a Foster Farms slaughterhouse in Livingston, California was <a href="https://www.peta.org/blog/coronavirus-covid-19-slaughterhouse-meat-concerns/?utm_source=PETA::Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=0420::veg::PETA::Twitter::Workers%20Blame%20Major%20Pig%20Slaughterhouse%20600%20Infected%20COVID-19::::tweet" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ordered closed</a> by local health authorities due to a Covid-19 outbreak that killed eight employees.</p>
<div id="28490" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="48ddd3480a2beb42597d9516ef652f0f"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1252416495990140929" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS! @SmithfieldFoods allegedly took NO PRECAUTIONS to protect the safety of its workers, leaving o… https://t.co/viAJ026pLy</div> — PETA (@PETA)<a href="https://twitter.com/peta/statuses/1252416495990140929">1587434336.0</a></blockquote></div><p>"It's not a matter of <em>whether</em> using and killing animals for food will give rise to another disease outbreak—it's a matter of <em>when</em>," said PETA. "There has never been a better, more obvious time for businesses to put an end to their dirty trade of slaughtering animals for their flesh." </p>
By Andrea Willige
More than half of the world's population lives in cities, and most future population growth is predicted to happen in urban areas. But the concentration of large numbers of people and the ecosystems built around their lives has also been a driver of climate change.