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Legal challenges expected after EPA re-authorizes controversial weed-killing herbicide dicamba

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Farmers can use the pesticide dicamba to clear fields of stubborn weeds for two more growing seasons after the EPA on Oct. 31 extended the temporary approval of new versions of the chemical, which is prone to drifting off-field.

Dicamba, a 1960s-era weedkiller, was reformulated and sold under a new label by Monsanto Co., BASF SE, and DowDupont [in 2017] to help farmers fight weeds that no longer die with common herbicides.

“EPA understands that dicamba is a valuable pest control tool for America’s farmers,” Andrew Wheeler, acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said in a statement ….

The agency said it is reducing the number of applications allowed for cotton from four to two, but makes no change for dicamba’s use on soybeans. Only certified applicators may apply dicamba “over the top”—a reference to applying a chemical to growing plants, the EPA said. Buffers will also be required on all sides of fields where endangered species may exist, instead of only on the downwind side, the EPA said.

Related article:  Bayer trial: Judge cuts 'excessive, unconstitutional' $2 billion Monsanto glyphosate-cancer damages to $86.7 million

Judges are mulling a lawsuit challenging the EPA’s approval of Monsanto’s Xtendimax herbicide. Four nonprofit organizations have sued the agency for violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and the Endangered Species Act in National Family Farm Coalition v. EPA.

Read full, original article: Farmers Can Use Dicamba At Least Two More Years, EPA Says (Behind Paywall)

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