No one has so far been able to explain why it is legal for these corporations to pay the government to make it legal for them to create and distribute deadly chemicals.
One court is saying it is not actually legal.
Dealing a blow to three of the world’s biggest agrochemical companies, a US court this week banned three weedkillers widely used in American agriculture, finding that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) broke the law in allowing them to be on the market.
The ruling is specific to three dicamba-based weedkillers manufactured by Bayer, BASF and Syngenta, which have been blamed for millions of acres of crop damage and harm to endangered species and natural areas across the midwest and south.
This is the second time a federal court has banned these weedkillers since they were introduced for the 2017 growing season. In 2020, the ninth circuit court of appeals issued its own ban, but months later the Trump administration reapproved the weedkilling products, just one week before the presidential election at a press conference in the swing state of Georgia.
But a federal judge in Arizona ruled on Monday that the EPA made a crucial error in reapproving dicamba, finding the agency did not post it for public notice and comment as required by law. US district judge David Bury wrote in a 47-page ruling that it was a “very serious” violation and that if EPA had done a full analysis, it probably would not have made the same decision.
Bury wrote that the EPA did not allow many people who are deeply affected by the weedkiller – including specialty farmers, conservation groups and more – to comment.
The lawsuit was filed by farmer and conservation groups.
“Time and time again, the evidence has shown that dicamba cannot be used without causing massive and unprecedented harm to farms as well as endangering plants and pollinators,” said George Kimbrell, legal director of the Center for Food Safety, which litigated the case.
An EPA spokesman, Jeffrey Landis, said the agency was still reviewing the ruling but declined to comment further.
Dicamba was introduced to American agriculture in 1967, but was never widely used during warm months because it was well known that the chemical can volatilize and move long distances when temperatures climb. Volatilization is when dicamba particles turn from a liquid to a gas in the hours or days after the herbicide is applied, in effect turning into clouds of weedkiller and causing landscape-level damage.
Dicamba is also prone to drifting on the wind far from where it is applied. And it can move into drainage ditches and bodies of water as runoff during rain events.
This is the whole issue, really: if people want to poison themselves, then okay. But they should not be allowed to put these chemicals into the entire environment, and poison everyone.
We should all just be one issue anti-weedkiller voters.
— Robert F. Kennedy Jr (@RobertKennedyJr) August 31, 2023