Environmental, health, and farm worker advocacy groups filed an Administrative Objection and a court appeal last week, challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “refusal to quickly correct errors in pesticide registrations and its refusal to immediately implement protective measures to safeguard children from exposure to dangerous pesticides that drift from fields during and after application.”
Earthjustice and Farmworker Justice are representing Pesticide Action Network North America, United Farm Workers of America, Pineros y Campesinos Unidos Del Noroeste, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Sea Mar Community Health Center, Farm Labor Organizing Committee and California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation.
The activists claim, “It took EPA more than four years and a court action to provide a response to a request to comply with existing law that requires the agency to protect kids from being exposed to pesticides that drift from fields and orchards. When they did finally respond, they refused the request to take immediate action to protect kids, instead leaving in place decisions and policies they admit are deficient.”
Earthjustice attorney Janette Brimmer said, “When EPA finally responded, they said that they would comply with the law in their own good time, which means potentially another eight years before mistakes are corrected and protections in place. EPA refused to require even the most minimal buffers around kids’ homes, schools or daycares—and failed to include the margin of safety in its risk calculations that is required by law.”
The groups filing the court appeal further contend, “Officials acknowledged in April that EPA had failed to consider drift in setting pesticide limits, contrary to legal requirements under the Food Quality Protection Act. EPA’s original deadline to complete this work under the act was 2006. Despite admitting their mistake, EPA declined to implement immediate protections or alter their current plans and plodding timelines, which extend to 2022. Agency officials insist that the current approach to addressing and regulating pesticide drift is good enough.”
The farmworker and environmental advocacy groups that filed the petition firmly claim that the EPA has done nothing to meet their concerns about protection against drift.