Dicamba on trial: Bayer tells federal judges banning drift-prone herbicide would ’cause chaos’ for farmers

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As U.S. soybean and cotton farmers work to get their 2020 crops planted, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments [April 21] in a case that has the potential to disallow the spraying of dicamba this growing season.

The lawsuit, filed by farming and conservation organizations …. alleges that the U.S. [EPA] unlawfully approved the herbicide for use on genetically engineered soybean and cotton seeds made by Monsanto.

Since new versions of dicamba made by Monsanto and BASF were released for the 2017 growing season, the off-target movement of dicamba has damaged millions of acres of non-resistant crops and natural areas ….

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Circuit Judge William Fletcher questioned Sarah Buckley, a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice who represented the EPA, about the agency’s claim that while many experts said the number of complaints filed about dicamba in 2017 and 2018 was likely an underestimate, others said it could be an exaggeration.

Richard Bress, an attorney representing Bayer, argued that …. if plaintiffs do win the case, the court should not disallow spraying this growing season because it would cause chaos and farmers would use other herbicides that would pose a greater risk to endangered species and the environment.

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