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John Gustafson Quoted in Chemical & Engineering News

First Published in:
Chemical & Engineering News

Keller and Heckman Associate John Gustafson was quoted in the Chemical & Engineering News article, “EPA Says Farmers Can Use Dicamba Through July.” On June 8, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) canceled the registration of three herbicide products containing the chemical dicamba. Farmers will no longer be able to buy the products, but can use their current stocks through July.

The agency order followed a June 3, 2020 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacating the dicamba registration and saying the products, designed for use on soybeans and cotton engineered to tolerate the chemical, should not have been registered because of their tendency to drift and damage other crops. The herbicides were first registered for the 2017 growing season to help growers combat weeds that have developed resistance to glyphosate. In 2017, dicamba herbicides damaged an estimated 1.5 million hectares of nontolerant soybeans when it drifted from fields where it was applied.  

EPA stated it has the authority to allow the use of already-purchased stocks under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and that allowing farmers to use their stocks will mitigate some of the devastating economic consequences of the Court’s decision for growers.

Mr. Gustafson says the language in FIFRA is ambiguous about the EPA’s authority to allow use of a pesticide when its registration has been vacated by a court that rules it should not have been permitted in the first place. In this case, he says, the EPA used a “creative interpretation of the law.”

To read the full article, please click here.