Nov 9, 2023
House committee investigates EPA’s Chlorpyrifos decision

In the wake of a federal appeals court decision that ruled the Environmental Protection Agency erred in banning the pesticide chlorpyrifos, House Committee on Oversight of Accountability Chairman James Comer continues to investigate the decision.

The early November ruling from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals brought widespread celebration from agricultural groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), which was a plaintiff in the lawsuit seeking to overturn the EPA’s decision.

“AFBF appreciates the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals for recognizing that the Environmental Protection Agency failed to follow the law when it revoked the use of chlorpyrifos,” Zippy Duvall, AFBF president, said in a statement. “Farmers and ranchers are committed to growing safe and nutritious food, and they use science to guide decisions on how to manage pests and insects. Today’s decision sends a message to EPA that it, too, must use sound science when drafting rules.”

More than 20 ag groups, including the Cherry Marketing Institute, the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association and the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association, were plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability on Nov. 7 said the EPA decision disregarded USDA scientists who had expressed they believed EPA could retain some uses of chlorpyrifos the meet the agency’s safety standards. Also on Nov. 7, Comer sent Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

Comer said the EPA’s decision should have gone through interagency review.

“The 11 crop uses of the pesticide the EPA could retain — including alfalfa, apple, cherry, sugar beet and wheat — represent more than $59 billion dollars in annual value to the U.S. economy,” Comer said in the letter to Vilsack.

In the letter, Comer requests the USDA provide documents and communication among USDA staff referring to the EPA’s decision on the ban.

“Because of the massive impact of revoking all tolerances for chlorpyrifos on food products in upcoming growing seasons, we have an immediate need to receive this important information,” according to Comer’s letter.

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