U.S. Court Orders Trump EPA to Decide Fate of Brain-Damaging Pesticide

EWG: Will Wheeler Do His Job and Protect Public Health?
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For Immediate Release: 
Friday, April 19, 2019

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today gave Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler 90 days to decide whether his agency will ban the use of the brain-damaging pesticide chlorpyrifos on foods.

“We’ll find out in three months if the Trump EPA remains under the tight control of the chemical agriculture industry, or if Administrator Wheeler will finally take his job seriously and ban this brain-damaging pesticide,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “It’s deplorable that Wheeler has defied the court’s order for almost nine months, and it’s time for him to do his job and protect public health.”

Two years ago, then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt sided with the pesticide lobby over the agency’s scientists in an 11th-hour decision to abort a proposal to ban chlorpyrifos from use on food crops. If Pruitt had listened to his own scientists, the ban could have taken full effect last year, but now the EPA won’t reevaluate its safety until 2022.

Last August, the court ruled that Pruitt’s decision violated federal law and ordered the EPA to ban chlorpyrifos within 60 days. But Wheeler fought back, refusing to obey the court’s order. In September, the Justice Department filed a petition on behalf of the agency, calling on the court to overturn its earlier ruling and leave chlorpyrifos legal. Today’s order by the Ninth Circuit gives Wheeler and EPA until mid-July to make its decision.

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The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.