EPA Resolves Longstanding Litigation, Ensures Pesticides Remain Available

Complaint against EPA alleged that it was violating the Endangered Species Act when it registered or reevaluated the registration of 382 pesticide active ingredients


WASHINGTON — This week, the U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) resolved longstanding litigation covering over 1,000 pesticide products, allowing EPA to fulfill its obligations to protect endangered species while conducting reviews and approvals of pesticides in a safe and protective manner.

In 2011, the Center for Biological Diversity and Pesticide Action Network (Plaintiffs) filed a complaint in Federal Court in California against EPA alleging that it was violating the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when it registered or reevaluated the registration of 382 pesticide active ingredients, which was ultimately reduced to 35 active ingredients covering over 1,000 pesticide products containing one or more of these active ingredients. This became known as the “megasuit” because of the number of pesticides it covered. The settlement entered by the Court this week resolves all outstanding claims.

“This agreement is a win-win-win to protect endangered species, ensure the availability of pesticides needed to grow food across America, and save considerable time and taxpayer expenses required to further litigate this case,” said Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff. “This settlement allows EPA adequate time to fulfill its obligations under the Endangered Species Act and adopt key elements from the Agency’s 2022 ESA Workplan, which a wide range of stakeholders support.”

In 2022, EPA issued its ESA Workplan, Balancing Wildlife Protection and Responsible Pesticide Use: How EPA’s Pesticide Program Will Meet its Endangered Species Act Obligations, which describes how EPA will address the challenge of protecting ESA-listed species from pesticides. The ESA Workplan was developed with public listening sessions and public comment. This settlement is consistent with EPA’s ongoing efforts to develop a multichemical, multispecies approach to meeting its ESA obligations under the workplan. EPA’s traditional chemical-by-chemical, species-by-species approach to meeting these obligations has been slow and costly, with ESA work on each pesticide typically taking many years to complete. As a result, EPA has completed its ESA obligations for less than 5% of its actions, creating legal vulnerabilities, the potential for adverse impacts to listed species, and uncertainty for farmers and other pesticide users that use many pesticides. Resolving the remaining claims in this lawsuit and establishing a path forward under the settlement is a significant step to overcoming these challenges.

This agreement and the prior partial settlement include obligations for EPA, many of which are also described in the ESA Workplan. Those actions include:

  • Development of mitigation measures for listed species that are particularly vulnerable to exposures from pesticides and determine how to apply these mitigations to future pesticide actions, as well as whether this Vulnerable Species Pilot should be expanded to more species. EPA met its first deadline (June 30, 2023) for this action by conducting public outreach on the mitigation measures identified for the first set of species.
  • Development and implementation of an Herbicide Strategy (draft released for public comment), a Rodenticide Strategy, Insecticide Strategy, and Fungicide strategy (the latter three are still under development) which will identify mitigation measures for entire classes of pesticides to address their potential impacts to hundreds of ESA-listed species
  • Completion of the ESA work for eight organophosphates and four rodenticides;
  • Hosting of a workshop for stakeholders to explore how to offset pesticide impacts on ESA-listed species in situations where eliminating or modifying pesticide use may not be feasible, and how EPA could incorporate those offsets into its process for registering or reregistering pesticides. Offsets could include restoring wetland habitat or funding breeding programs for affected species.


For further information: EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

Original article and URL from Morning Ag Clips:

Farm Hands West: Crout takes new role at Helena Agri-Enterprises

By Hannah Pagel

Paul Crout is the new AGRIntelligence, agronomy, and organics manager at Helena Agri-Enterprises. He has been with the company for the last five years and most recently was the senior product manager and agronomist in Templeton, Calif. Crout currently serves as the chairman of CAPCA.

Daren Williams has been selected to lead the PR and reputation management practice at Curious Plot, located in Modesto and focused on increasing the agency’s West Coast presence. He most recently served as director of corporate communications for Valley First Credit Union. He has also held roles with the Almond Board of California and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

The Oakland Board of Port Commissioners has added Jahmese Myres and Stephanie Dominguez Walton to the board. They fill the seats vacated by Commissioners Cestra “Ces” Butner and Joan Story who completed their years of service. Myres is the leadership development director at PowerSwitch Action and Dominguez Walton comes to the Oakland Board of Port Commissioners with more than 25 years in broadcast journalism. Commissioner Dominguez Walton also serves as the president of the board at the Voter Protection Project.

Bruce Bodine has been tapped as the next president and CEO of the Mosaic Co., succeeding James “Joc” O’Rourke, who is retiring. Bodine has held several executive roles with the company, including senior vice president of potash, senior vice president of phosphates, and vice president of supply chain.

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture has brought on Becky Garrison Warfel as the new director of public policy, leading NASDA’s food safety and nutrition policy committee. Garrison Warfel is a registered dietitian and holds a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition. She is working toward completing her master’s in public administration from the University of Idaho. She previously served the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion as a MyPlate strategic partner.

Keith Gray is the new president of the Forest Resources Association. He previously served as USDA’s associate administrator of the Risk Management Agency. Before that, he was the chief of staff at RMA.

ADM has appointed Regina Bynote Jones as the company’s new senior vice president, general counsel and secretary, effective Sept. 5. In this role, she will oversee ADM’s global legal and regulatory affairs, compliance initiatives, security operations and government relations efforts. She most recently served as the chief legal officer for Baker Hughes, a global leader in the energy technology sector.

John Niemann is the new CEO of Cooks Venture, a vertically integrated poultry business. Niemann comes to Cooks Venture from Cargill, where he had a 20 year career with the company. He served as the president of protein ingredient and international and was also the president of Cargill’s Turkey & Cooked Meats division and its food distribution business.

Nezahualcoyotl “Neza” Xiuhtecutli has been hired by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition as the new grassroots advocacy coordinator. He brings to the role 20 years of experience working in rural communities in Mexico, Central America and the southern U.S. He previously worked at the Farmworker Association of Florida as the general coordinator and principal investigator.

Jasmine Dickerson is now working in government affairs at General Mills. She previously worked in the Office of the Vice President as a senior adviser for legislative affairs and before that was at the Department of Agriculture as a legislative director in the Office of Congressional Relations.

Bethany Shively is leaving the American Seed Trade Association where she served as the vice president of strategic communications.

Shannon Ott has joined North American Ag as the chief operating officer. She brings over 20 years of experience to the role, previously working in marketing management for the animal health industry.

The Congressional Western Caucus has brought on Eli Mansour as communications director and Chris Perez as outreach representative. Mansour previously worked in the office of Rep. Pete Stauber, R-Minn., where he was the congressman’s communications director. Perez is a first generation American who was born and raised in South Florida. He previously was involved in real estate and the mortgage business both in the USA and abroad.

Chan Windham has been promoted to vice president of sales at House of Raeford. He will direct overall sales operations for the ready-to-cook, cooked products, and international divisions of the company.  Windham has been with the company for nearly 30 years and most recently was the director of commodity sales.

Rod West has been promoted to executive vice president of global supply chain at Dollar General. He most recently was the senior vice president of distribution at DG.

Uwe Ranft will retire as managing director of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and global strategic accounts for Novus International. Ranft has been with Novus for the last 20 years, 14 of those at the helm of the commercial business. Volker Seidl has been tapped to succeed him, effective in the new year. He joined NOVUS as the director of global strategic accounts in 2021.

Founder and CEO of Farmer Focus Corwin Heatwole is transitioning to chairman of the organization’s board of managers. Stephen Shepard has been tapped to replace Heatwole. He currently serves as president and COO.

Mike Siemens is the new executive director of Protect the Harvest, with a focus on strategic development, growth and meeting constituent needs. Theresa Lucas McMahan, moved from executive director to the newly created chief administrative officer position, focused on organizational effectiveness and operations. Siemens previously worked as a global animal welfare officer for Arrowsight. He also previously held roles with DeKalb Feeds, Smithfield Foods, and Cargill.

Norman Karlson has been brought on as a fiscal officer for the U.S. Wheat Associates. Kurt Coppens has also been promoted to director of finance from his current position as fiscal officer, and current senior staff accountant Adam Kiely has been elevated to comptroller. Karlson most recently was a project accountant with Reading is Fundamental.

Heath Brandt has returned to Torrey Advisory Group as policy coordinator. Brandt most recently interned on the Senate Ag Committee, and before that interned at TAG. Brandt attends the University of Missouri, where he majors in agricultural communications.

Montana Farm Bureau Federation has hired Jasmine Evans as the new Eastern Montana regional manager. Evans ranches near Circle, Montana, and previously worked at Rural Community Insurance Services as a crop claims field adjuster.

Original Article

New Invasive Species Arrives in California

Tau fruit fly has been detected in Los Angeles county, quarantine now in place

This the first Tau fruit fly quarantine ever in the Western Hemisphere. (Photo: Fan Gao, Courtesy CDFA)

SACRAMENTO — A portion of Los Angeles County has been placed under quarantine for the Tau fruit fly (Zeugodacus tau group) following the detection of more than 20 flies in the unincorporated area of Stevenson Ranch, near the city of Santa Clarita.

The quarantine area measures 79 square miles, bordered on the north by Castaic Junction; on the south by Oat Mountain; on the west by Del Valle; and on the east by Honby Ave.  A link to the quarantine map may be found here: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/tau/regulation.html

This the first Tau fruit fly quarantine ever in the Western Hemisphere. The fly is native to Asia and is a serious pest for agriculture and natural resources, with a very wide host range, including numerous fruits and vegetables as well as a select range of native plants in California.

It’s believed the fly was introduced by travelers bringing uninspected produce into the state — a common pathway for invasive species.

To prevent the spread of this invasive species, residents living in the quarantine area are urged not to move any fruits and vegetables from their property. They may be consumed or processed (i.e. juiced, frozen, cooked, or ground in the garbage disposal) at the property where they were picked. Otherwise, they should be disposed-of by double-bagging in plastic and placing the bags in a bin specifically for garbage.

Following the principles of Integrated Pest Management,  the California Department of Food and Agriculture, working in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture and the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner, will utilize a multi-tiered approach to eliminate the Tau fruit fly and prevent its spread to new areas.  On properties within 200 meters of detections, staff will cut host fruit and vegetables to inspect for any fruit fly larvae that may be present.  Additionally, properties within 200 meters of detections will be treated with a naturally derived organic-approved material known as Spinosad, which will help remove any live adult fruit flies and  reduce the density of the population.  Finally, fly traps that incorporate a pheromone lure and a minute amount of pesticide will be used in a wider part of the treatment area.

Further information about this invasive species is available online at: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/PDEP/target_pest_disease_profiles/tau_ff_profile.html


Article courtesy of Morning Ag Clips
Original URL: https://www.morningagclips.com/new-invasive-species-arrives-in-california/