Aug. 19, 2019
The agency is facing its second lawsuit from environmental advocates who allege that US EPA officials ignored scientific evidence and complaints from agricultural producers in its 2018 approval of XtendiMax, a brand name for dicamba. The groups, which include the National Family Farm Coalition and the Center for Food Safety, filed their opening brief this week, reports POLITICO's Arren Kimbel-Sannit.
How we got here: The EPA in 2016 first approved XtendiMax - developed by Monsanto, now owned by Bayer - despite warnings from farmers, scientists, environmentalists and landowners about dicamba's tendency to drift onto neighboring properties. The agency was sued in 2017, but it re-approved the chemical in 2018 before that case concluded.
The EPA tried to address some of the concerns by restricting when and how often dicamba could be applied and setting mandatory buffer zones. The agency could not be reached for comment.
Now, the environmental groups are taking a second shot at challenging the agency in federal appeals court. They claim the spraying restrictions were based on recommendations from the company and haven't prevented dicamba drift from damaging crops again this year, especially in the Midwest.