Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Amid confusion over dicamba ruling, EPA says farmers can keep spraying already-purchased stocks through July

A federal appeals court recently halted the sale of all dicamba-based herbicides in the U.S. until December after ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency didn't do its due diligence when reauthorizing the chemical in 2018. But the decision—which came in the middle of spraying season—was open-ended enough that states have been confused about whether dicamba use was still allowed, and the EPA stepped in with its own interpretation of the ruling.

"Without clear instructions from the EPA, to which the court's 'vacatur' order was directed, states have been left to draw their own conclusions about what the ruling means for retailers, farmers and applicators," Emily Unglesbee reports for DTN/The Progressive Farmer. States sought guidance from the EPA following the ruling, and at least 15 states decided to allow continued spraying.

The court opinion indicated that dicamba use should also be immediately halted along with sales, but EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler "had a different interpretation of the ruling. The agency released a 12-page cancellation order Monday that ruled the sale of dicamba herbicides needed to be halted, but farmers could continue to use their existing supply through July 31," Jonathan Hettinger reports for the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.
The ruling only covers the 2018 reauthorization of dicamba, which expires on Dec. 20. The EPA will likely reauthorize it for next year. 

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