The American Farm Bureau Federation, along with other agriculture groups, has filed a motion to intervene in federal court in a lawsuit aimed at imposing needless restrictions or bans on pesticide use. Montana Farm Bureau applauds AFBF’s intervention. AFBF filed in Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) v. Environmental Protection Agency, a suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The Center for Biological Diversity’s (CBD) lawsuit alleges that EPA violated the Endangered Species Act by allowing the use of nearly 400 pesticides without conducting consultations with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (Services) regarding potential impacts on 214 listed species.
“What the Center for Biological Diversity, and other anti-pesticide groups seem to think, or at least want you to believe, is that crop protectants are simply thrown together and doled out to anyone who wants to use them in any way,” notes Bob Hanson, president, Montana Farm Bureau Federation. “The fact is that a company will spend up to 10 years and $260 million to ensure the safety of a product when used properly. This process not only reduces risk but negates virtually any risk. There are many, many regulations and rules already in place for using all of these products.”
AFBF President Bob Stallman agrees. “The pesticides listed in the complaint have already been approved by EPA as safe for use under stringent federal pesticide laws,” continued Stallman. “If consultation between EPA and the Services is required, then EPA should move forward with that process. But farmers should not be denied the use of important pest control products to protect their crops in the meantime.”
Stallman says, “This case aims to use the Endangered Species Act to impose restrictions, if not outright bans, on hundreds of pesticides. To protect the interests of growers nationwide who rely on the availability of safe, affordable and effective pesticides, we have sought to intervene in the lawsuit in order to participate fully in how the case is resolved.”
America’s famers are committed to conserving and protecting endangered species in and around farmland, and use pesticides in an environmentally sound manner, as authorized by EPA, notes Hanson and Stallman. But, CBD’s massive lawsuit seeks to restrict or even ban the use of pesticides while EPA and the Services engage in consultation, on the mere chance that a protected species might be affected. The sweeping scope of the lawsuit and the lack of regulatory framework to complete consultations efficiently threatens to impose additional and unnecessary pesticide use restrictions for years, if not decades.
Other groups who filed the motion to intervene with AFBF include: National Agricultural Aviation Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of Corn Growers, National Cotton Council, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Potato Council, Oregonians for Food and Shelter, USA Rice Federation and Washington Friends of Farms and Forests.