AFBF intervenes in pesticide lawsuit

The American Farm Bureau Federation, along with other agriculture groups, has filed a motion to intervene in federal court in a lawsuit aimed at imposing needless restrictions or bans on pesticide use.

AFBF filed in Center for Biological Diversity v. Environmental Protection Agency, a suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The Center for Biological Diversity’s (CBD) lawsuit alleges that EPA violated the Endangered Species Act by allowing the use of nearly 400 pesticides without conducting consultations with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (Services) regarding potential impacts on 214 listed species.

“This case aims to use the Endangered Species Act to impose restrictions, if not outright bans, on hundreds of pesticides,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “To protect the interests of growers nationwide who rely on the availability of safe, affordable and effective pesticides, we have sought to intervene in the lawsuit in order to participate fully in how the case is resolved.”

America’s farmers, said Stallman, are committed to conserving and protecting endangered species in and around farmland and use pesticides in an environmentally sound manner, as authorized by EPA. But, CBD’s massive lawsuit seeks to restrict or even ban the use of pesticides while EPA and the Services engage in consultation, on the mere chance that a protected species might be affected. The sweeping scope of the lawsuit and the lack of regulatory framework to complete consultations efficiently threatens to impose additional and unnecessary pesticide use restrictions for years, if not decades.

“The pesticides listed in the complaint have already been approved by EPA as safe for use under stringent federal pesticide laws,” continued Stallman. “If consultation between EPA and the Services is required, then EPA should move forward with that process. But farmers should not be denied the use of important pest control products to protect their crops in the meantime.”

Other groups who filed the motion to intervene with AFBF include: National Agricultural Aviation Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of Corn Growers, National Cotton Council, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Potato Council, Oregonians for Food and Shelter, USA Rice Federation and Washington Friends of Farms and Forests.

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