"EPA has clear, damning evidence its mitigation has utterly failed to protect farmers, the environment, and endangered species," said the Center for Food Safety legal director.
"I call bullsh*t."
That's how Nathan Donley, environmental health science director at the Center for Biological Diversity, responded Thursday to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issuing limited restrictions for the use of over-the-top dicamba herbicides in four states.
Noting that it has been over a year since the Biden administration released a report "detailing just how incredibly devastating the 2020 dicamba approval has been," Donley said, "And now we're supposed to believe that four states not being able to use dicamba for two weeks in June accomplishes something?"
Under the EPA's rules for the 2023 season, farmers in Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa can't apply the herbicides Engenia, Tavium, and XtendiMax after June 12 or the V4 growth stage for soybeans and first square for cotton—whichever comes first. The previous end date for those states was June 20, which is the new cutoff for South Dakota, where farmers previously had until June 30.
Some experts warn that the timing of the EPA's move is "troubling" given the proximity to soybean planting. University of Illinois weed scientist Aaron Hager toldFarmProgress that "it's going to be a challenge. I'm afraid for soybean farmers who have already made their seed and herbicide purchases for the 2023 growing season."
Meanwhile, longtime critics of the herbicide like Donley and George Kimbrell, legal director at the Center for Food Safety, called out the EPA for continuously failing to go far enough to limit harm from dicamba, given concerns about drift damage.
\u201cMore deck chairs on the titanic. EPA has clear, damning evidence its mitigation has utterly failed to protect farmers, the environment, and endangered species, yet once again blinked and failed to make meaningful changes. 1/1\u201d— George A Kimbrell (@George A Kimbrell) 1676589709
"This marks the fifth time in seven years EPA has made changes to dicamba's registration," Kimbrell said in a statement. "Yet faced with a mountain of data that its past measures have utterly failed to protect farmers, the environment, and endangered species, EPA once again failed to make meaningful changes."
"What EPA revised only affects four of 34 states, offers nothing to admitted continued risks to endangered species, and makes a label that already was impossible to follow in real-world farming even more impossible to follow," Kimbrell added.
"If allowed to stand, EPA's capitulation to pesticide companies will condemn many thousands of farmers to another year of devastating dicamba clouds injuring their crops, endangering their livelihoods, and tearing apart their rural communities," he warned, vowing to continue doing "everything we can to stop this harm."