On Wednesday, a panel of judges with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied a petition to vacate the registration of Corteva Agriscience’s Enlist Duo herbicide. The ruling was seen as a victory for Corteva Agriscience, only needing to address one claim. This allows farmers to continue the use of the herbicide, which is a combination of 2,4-D choline and glyphosate, to be used over 2,4-D-tolerant Enlist crops including corn, soybeans, and cotton.
The plaintiffs, which include the National Family Farm Coalition, Family Farm Defenders, Beyond Pesticides, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, and the Pesticide Action Network of North America, claimed the Environmental Protection Agency did not follow correct procedure when registering Enlist. However, according to the panel, the EPA’s procedure consisted of studies that proved the volatility of 2,4-D will not cause unreasonable harm to the environment.
According to the report, “First, the panel did agree with petitioners that EPA failed to properly assess harm to monarch butterflies from increased 2,4-D use on milkweed in target fields.” However, later the judges state that the error was not “serious” and will likely be able to offer better reasoning.
“Second, the panel rejected the argument that EPA failed to consider that Enlist Duo would increase the use of glyphosate over time. The panel held that substantial evidence supported EPA’s conclusion that neither the initial 2014 registration of Enlist Duo — nor the subsequent approvals for new use — will increase the overall use of glyphosate.
“Third, the panel rejected petitioners’ contention that EPA failed to properly consider 2,4-D’s volatility — i.e., its tendency to evaporate into a gas and drift to non-target plants. The panel held that EPA reasonably relied on studies to support its conclusion that the volatility of 2,4-D choline salt will not cause on unreasonable adverse effects on the environment. Accordingly, substantial evidence supported EPA’s findings.
“Fourth, the panel rejected NFFS petitioners’ contention that EPA should have accounted for the potential synergistic effect of mixing Enlist Duo with a different chemical called glufosinate. The panel held that this concern was speculative.”
This is good news for farmers who rely on Enlist Duo to kill weeds in their corn, soybean, and cotton fields. However, the Center for Food Safety did say they are analyzing all legal options, including seeking a full court rehearing.