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U.S. Court of Appeals Overturns EPA’s Ban on Important Organophosphate Insecticide

U.S. Court of Appeals Overturns EPA’s Ban on Important Organophosphate Insecticide

The court noted that the EPA failed to consider “its own proposal to keep a set of high-benefit uses in place.”

Chlorpyrifos, also known as Chlorpyrifos ethyl, is an organophosphate pesticide that is applied to crops and animals to kill several a variety of insects and worms.  It has been used in the U.S. since 1965 to help control a variety of pests on alfalfa, citrus, soybeans, peaches, pecans, tree nuts, and fruit and vegetable crops.

In 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency rushed to judgment and banned the insecticide. Now, the U.S. Court of Appeals has overturned the ban, asserting the agency’s humanity-hating decision was rushed and needs to be reviewed.

In a win for farmers and pesticide makers, a federal appeals court has reopened the door for use of the organophosphate pesticide chlorpyrifos on food crops in some US states.

A Nov. 2 ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit nixes a 2021 rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency banning the neurotoxic insecticide on food. The court ruling also orders the EPA to reevaluate whether chlorpyrifos can be safely used on crops like sugar beets, soybeans, and certain fruits and vegetables.

In its opinion, the court notes that the EPA failed to consider “its own proposal to keep a set of high-benefit uses in place.” The EPA was under a short court-ordered deadline to make a decision about whether to cancel all uses of chlorpyrifos on food or show that anticipated uses are safe. The agency zeroed in on a single solution—banning all uses of chlorpyrifos on food—rather than considering whether the pesticide could be safely used on a few select crops, the court ruled.

Yes, having a steady supply of food and healthy livestock is a high benefit . . . to anyone who values humanity.

Of course, some states have their own ban on the pesticide. The restriction on use of chlorpyrifos in Hawaii, Maryland, New York, and Oregon remain.

The ruling is a rare instance in which a court seems to understand that sound science has to be the underpinning of good policy and sensible regulations, especially those related to the critically important area of agriculture.

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) said the decision sends a message that EPA must use sound science when drafting rules.

“AFBF appreciates the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals for recognizing that the Environmental Protection Agency failed to follow the law when it revoked the use of chlorpyrifos,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said. “Farmers and ranchers are committed to growing safe and nutritious food, and they use science to guide decisions on how to manage pests and insects.”

This ruling could lead to growers having the pesticide back for the 2024 growing season.

“The federal court’s ruling will restore a tool needed by many Texas farmers,” Jay Bragg, TFB associate director of Commodity and Regulatory Activities, said.

In its ruling, the Court recognized the historical importance of chloropyrifos, as well as its historic safety track record.

In lifting the ban, the Eighth Circuit panel recalled that “Chlorpyrifos has played a large role in American agriculture for more than half a century.”

By 2017, just four years before the EPA banned its use, the ruling says “it was the most widely used conventional insecticide in the country… Its popularity was unparalleled because it stops harmful insects like caterpillars, beetles, and moths in their tracks without damaging crops.”

…The 8th Circuit decision also pointed out chlorpyrifos safety record.

“Before the EPA’s 2021 ban, agricultural use of chlorpyrifos had survived multiple safety reviews. In 2002, for example, the EPA concluded that ‘dietary exposures from eating food crops treated with chlorpyrifos [were] below the level of concern for the entire U.S. population; the same went for drinking-water levels, which were not a “concern.” …Then, a few years later, the agency reaffirmed that existing tolerances met “the [tenfold] safety standard.”

It is good to see at least one of our courts understands real science is different than narrative science. Hopefully, Congress will continue to find ways to rein in the regulatory behemoth it has allowed to run wild for the past few decades.


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The 5th Circuit just slapped down the ATF ruling that only Congress can make rules that are actually laws and now this.

I’m glad they ruled this way but having to rely on the Courts to reign in an out of control permanent bureaucracy makes me a little queasy. This problem won’t be solved until those deep state workers suffer consequences for trying stuff like this

    DaveGinOly in reply to diver64. | November 12, 2023 at 7:23 pm

    Legislators and bureaucrats whose names are attached to the formulation of, support for, and enforcement of legislation and regulation that’s subsequently found unconstitutional/beyond their authority should (if they are still in office) be either immediately unseated or banned from re-election at the end of their terms, or if not currently holders of elected offices, but still in government employee, should be terminated, and both sorts should be permanently banned from future government employment.

    This would have two salutary effects. First, it would result in fewer unconstitutional rules and regulations. Second, it would force personnel turnover in our legislative bodies and bureaucracies, making the work less attractive to those more interested in the accumulation of power, and more attractive to those seriously interested in doing good (but constitutionally-limited) works.

    inspectorudy in reply to diver64. | November 12, 2023 at 10:19 pm

    This case is the opposite of an earlier insecticide that the EPA said was safe but the COURTS decided it was a carcinogen. The product is Roundup and it is still sold and used by millions with no ill effects. But a class action lawsuit along with bought “Scientists” said that it causes cancer in users. The government’s scientists said the opposite. The jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff and the lawyers made a lot of money.

      There are a lot of problems with glyphosates and gloves should be worn when applying them, All clothing washed afterwards and hands scrubbed with soap. Be careful of that stuff.

“the agency’s humanity-hating decision”

Stooping the level of MSNBC. Disappointing.

    ThePrimordialOrderedPair in reply to moonmoth. | November 12, 2023 at 4:21 pm

    What are you talking about? The Western left is clearly anti-human. They want to do away with Man, whom they view as a cancer on the Earth … because they are a bunch of miserable, sick, demented, nihilistic lunatics.

    Every Western leftist policy is clearly anti-human.

    Milhouse in reply to moonmoth. | November 12, 2023 at 10:59 pm

    It’s the plain truth. The radical environmental movement, which has controlled the EPA probably since its beginning, is anti-human. Like the Nazi movement it derives from pagan nature-worshiping religions, and is based on the fundamental idea that nature is good and man and all his works are evil.

Hopefully SCOTUS will take the opportunity to gut Chevron this term and with it eliminate a great deal of the mischief done by the administrative state.

    Sign me up for one of those “Gut Chevron” t-shirts when they come off the production line. I think it should be in high demand.

      henrybowman in reply to Q. | November 13, 2023 at 8:17 pm

      My younger son tells the tale of a Chinese bot that once trolled through Twitter looking for messages with language such as, “I’d buy t-shirt with that on it,” and offering the poster exactly such a custom shirt for a price. Mischievous users trolled back by declaring interest in shirts with pictures of Xi as WInnie the Pooh, “Free Taiwan,” “Stop Uighur Genocide” and the like… and it wasn’t long before the bot mysteriously vanished.

“Banning insecticides would sure make it easier for us to starve you miserable peasants.”

“Of course, some states have their own ban on the pesticide. The restriction on use of chlorpyrifos in Hawaii, Maryland, New York, and Oregon remain.”

NY legislators were able to have the any ban extend until 2027 and is no longer on the “hit list” for our farmers…..for a few years anyway.

Now do Invermectin.