Thursday, May 31, 2018

Three states sue EPA over pesticide education delays

California, Maryland and New York have filed suit in federal court in New York City against the Environmental Protection Agency and Administrator Scott Pruitt for slowing the implementation of Obama-era requirements for farmers to provide more pesticide training for employees who handle pesticides. The suit alleges that the EPA's delays harm hundreds of thousands of farmworkers and their families, Chris Clayton reports for DTN/The Progressive Farmer.

The rules were updated in 2015 for the first time in 25 years and included such provisions as requiring pesticide handlers to be at least 18 and educating farmworkers on pesticide residue that could cling to their clothes and harm children who came into contact with the clothes.

The 2015 rule change had more than 393,000 supporting signatures and 2,400 comments. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, says EPA delayed publication of new training materials and in doing so, indefinitely delayed compliance deadlines for the new safety-training rules. "EPA did so even though it had the new training materials on hand and ready to make available," Clayton reports. "EPA announced its decision with a notice in the Federal Register and added that EPA also intended to reconsider other aspects of the rule."

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