The National Cotton Council has filed a motion to intervene in federal court in a lawsuit that raises the possibility of needless product restrictions or bans through a wide swath of U.S. agriculture.
“The U.S. cotton industry fully supports efforts to protect this nation’s fish and wildlife as well as their habitat, but this lawsuit is not the right path to take,” said NCC Chairman Charles Parker, a Senath, Mo., cotton producer. “The pesticides listed in the complaint already have been approved by EPA as safe for use under stringent federal pesticide laws. This action has the potential to seriously undermine all of American agriculture.”
Other groups who filed motions to intervene include the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Agricultural Aviation Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of Corn Growers, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Potato Council, Oregonians for Food and Shelter, USA Rice Federation and Washington Friends of Farms and Forests.
The motions were 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 (ESA) by allowing the use of one or more of 381 chemicals without conducting consultations with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (Services) regarding potential impacts on 214 listed species. Under the ESA, the EPA is required to consult with one of the Services, depending on the species in question, when it determines that a pesticide may affect a listed species or its critical habitat.
The interventions follow motions to intervene that were filed on March 18 by CropLife America, Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment, Mid America CropLife Association, Western Plant Health Association and Southern Crop Production Association. The CropLife motion said that in order for EPA to review all chemicals “would require the Court to supervise tens of thousands of EPA judgments and oversee EPA’s entire pesticide registration program.”
In recent weeks, Congressional Members have questioned EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson about the agency’s seeming willingness to settle rather than challenge lawsuits. The CBD has a long history of filing suits against EPA and forcing settlements. EPA has suggested that it will comply with ESA requirements as the agency completes its 15-year registration review as mandated by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act. However, the activists in the current litigation are saying that timeline is too long and they will ask for a more aggressive compliance schedule.