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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Litigation' Category


23
Mar

Farmworkers and Conservationists Sue EPA for Re-Approving Monsanto/Bayer’s Cancer-Causing Pesticide, Glyphosate/Roundup

(Beyond Pesticides, March 23, 2020) Ignoring science to side with Monsanto/Bayer, EPA has repeatedly failed to assess glyphosate’s impacts on public health and endangered species. Last week, a broad coalition of farmworkers, farmers, and conservationists, filed a federal lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its January 2020 re-approval of the pesticide glyphosate, best known as the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup pesticides. With Center for Food Safety (CFS) serving as legal counsel, the suing organizations are  Beyond Pesticides, the Rural Coalition, OrganizaciĂłn en California de Lideres Campesinas, and the Farmworker Association of Florida. While EPA defends glyphosate, juries in several cases have found it to cause cancer, ruling in favor of those impacted by exposure. Glyphosate formulations like Roundup are also well-established as having numerous damaging environmental impacts. After a registration review process spanning over a decade, EPA allowed the continued marketing of the pesticide despite the agency’s failure to fully assess glyphosate’s hormone-disrupting potential or its effects on threatened and endangered species. The review began in 2009, has already taken 11 years, without a full assessment of the widespread harmful impacts on people and the environment in that time period. “EPA’s half-completed, biased, and unlawful approval sacrifices the […]

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20
Feb

Bader Farms Wins $265 Million in Lawsuit Against Bayer’s Monsanto, BASF

(Beyond Pesticides, February 20, 2020) Missouri’s largest peach farm, Bader Farms, is set to receive $265 million in compensation from two multinational agrichemical companies after the companies’ dicamba-based weed killers caused widespread damage to the farm’s fruit trees. Bayer’s Monsanto and BASF were found to be responsible for negligence in the design of their dicamba herbicides, and failure to warn farmers about the dangers of their products. The jury determined that the joint venture between the two companies amounted to a conspiracy to create an “ecological disaster” in the name of profit. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved Bayer Monsanto’s release of a new line of genetically engineered (GE) seeds designed to tolerate repeated spraying of dicamba. With glyphosate resistant ‘super-weeds’ widespread and threatening GE farmer’s yields, the company aimed to redeploy dicamba, one of the oldest herbicides in the market, on cotton and soybeans throughout the U.S. Knowing the propensity of dicamba to drift for miles off site, Bayer’s Monsanto promised a new product line with much lower volatility.  But as the company was waiting on approval for this product by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it nonetheless began selling its dicamba-tolerant seeds. This led to […]

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14
Feb

“Hey Farmer Farmer, Put Away that” Dicamba Weed Killer

(Beyond Pesticides, February 14, 2020) The weed killer dicamba has been blamed for killing or damaging millions of acres of non–genetically modified crops and other plants that have no protection against the compound. Litigation, legislation, and manufacturer machination abound as dicamba damage mounts. The trial in a suit filed in 2016 by a Missouri peach farmer against dicamba manufacturers Bayer and BASF has just begun; an Indiana state laboratory struggles to keep up with demand to evaluate dicamba damage; Idaho lawmakers are poised to weaken rules that protect farmworkers who apply dicamba (and other pesticides) aerially; agricultural officials in Missouri are pressuring the state legislature to increase funding to handle the exploding numbers of dicamba complaints; and Indiana’s legislature is considering two bills aimed at curtailing dicamba drift that kills neighboring crops. This Daily News Blog will round up the plethora of recent news on dicamba — the toxic and destructive culprit behind each of these stories. In the face of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) failure to mitigate dicamba hazards, states have been scrambling to enact limits on when and how dicamba can be used, amend buffer zones around application sites, and in some cases, ban its use outright. […]

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06
Feb

Farmer Takes Bayer/Monsanto to Court for Crop Damage Caused by the Herbicide Dicamba

(Beyond Pesticides, February 6, 2020) Bill Bader, a Missouri peach farmer, is taking on agrichemical giants for damages to his crops, allegedly caused by the volatile herbicide dicamba drifting from neighboring properties. Mr. Bader says that not only did he lose over 30,000 trees, his remaining peaches are now smaller and his trees are less productive. According to Bader, the damage has cost him $20.9 million for which he seeks restitution. The case is claiming that Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, and German partner company BASF knew that the sale of their products would result in crop damage due to drift, but sold dicamba-resistant cotton and soybean seeds anyway. The companies deny the claims. Dicamba is a benzoic acid herbicide that exerts an auxin-like growth regulatory effect when absorbed by plant tissue, ultimately causing the plant to outgrow its nutrient supply and die. Originally developed in the 1950’s, dicamba has become more popular as crops become resistant to glyphosate. It is extremely volatile and prone to drift. Soybeans are particularly sensitive to dicamba, and drift damage can pit neighbor against neighbor in rural communities. Risk of crop damage alone can drive farmers to buy dicamba-resistant soybean seeds. In addition to […]

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15
May

Jury Awards $2 Billion for Damages in Third Federal Roundup Cancer Case

(Beyond Pesticides, May 15, 2019) On Monday, a California jury awarded plaintiffs in the third federal Roundup case over $2 billion in punitive and compensatory damages. The jury found that Monsanto “engaged in conduct with malice, oppression or fraud committed by one or more officers, directors or managing agents of Monsanto.” Plaintiffs Alva and Alberta Pilliod, a married couple in their seventies, used Roundup weed killer since the 1970s to maintain their yard and other owned properties. The couple did not wear protective gear when using Roundup because Monsanto marketed the product as “safe.” Alva was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) in 2011; Alberta’s diagnosis followed in 2015. The Pilliod v. Monsanto jury came to their decision based on evidence, not only of the herbicide’s carcinogenicity, but also of Monsanto’s role in suppressing and discredit.ing independent findings regarding Roundup toxicity. In an interview with U.S. Right to Know’s Carey Gillam, co-lead trial counsel Michael Miller said, “Unlike the first two Monsanto trials, where the judges severely limited the amount of plaintiffs’ evidence, we were finally allowed to show a jury the mountain of evidence showing Monsanto’s manipulation of science, the media and regulatory agencies to forward their own agenda despite […]

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04
Jan

Settlement Bans Some Bee-Toxic Pesticides, Requires Public Comment Period on Testing All Pesticide Product Ingredients and Regulating Pesticide-Treated Seeds

(Beyond Pesticides, January 4, 2019) First, the good news: plaintiffs in a 2013 lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can allow themselves a small victory dance. In that suit, plaintiffs made a number of claims related to EPA’s failure to protect pollinators from dangerous pesticides, its poor oversight of the bee-killing pesticides clothianidin and thiamethoxam, and its practice of “conditional registration,” as well as labeling deficiencies. The parties in the suit negotiated a settlement, as directed by a federal judge (see below), that was signed in October 2018 and portends some positive movement in curtailing the use of some toxic pesticides [12 products, each of which contains chlothianidin or thiamathoxam as an active ingredient] that harm pollinators in particular, as well as other organisms and the environment. It also establishes a public process for EPA to consider requiring whole formulations of pesticide products during registration, and redefining EPA’s interpretation of law that allows seeds treated with bee-toxic pesticides to escape regulation as a pesticide. The suit was brought by a number of individual beekeepers and several organizations, including Beyond Pesticides, Center for Food Safety (CFS), Sierra Club, and Center for Environmental Health, and named as defendants Steven Bradbury, then-director of the […]

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26
Sep

Nonprofits Sue Pret A Manger for Deceptive Marketing of Foods as ‘Natural’

(Beyond Pesticides, September 26, 2018) Beyond Pesticides, GMO Free USA, and Organic Consumers Association filed a lawsuit against Pret A Manger restaurant chain for the deceptive marketing and sale of certain bread and other baked goods as “natural food,” after the products tested positive for glyphosate, a component of Roundup weedkiller. The lawsuit charges that Pret exploits consumers’ preferences and willingness to pay more for products marketed as ‘natural.’ “Consumers expect Pret’s food to be free of synthetic pesticides, including glyphosate. Glyphosate, patented as a chelator and an antibiotic, is linked to adverse health effects including cancer, infertility and non-alcoholic fatty liver and kidney diseases. Glyphosate shouldn’t be present in the food system at all, but a company that willfully misrepresents its products needs to be held accountable,” said Diana Reeves, executive director of GMO Free USA. Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides said: “Consumers want truthful information on product ingredients, with labeling and advertising that is transparent about production practices and residues of toxic materials. Given the widespread use of pesticide-intensive practices, this lawsuit establishes the responsibility of purveyors of food products to know the origins of their product ingredients before making a ‘natural’ claim.” Ronnie Cummins, Organic Consumers […]

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21
Sep

Bayer’s Monsanto Asks Judge to Reverse $289 Million Glyphosate Decision

(Beyond Pesticides, September 21, 2018) Monsanto, now an integrated unit of Bayer AG, is asking Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos to reverse the verdict, reduce the award, or grant a new trial for the company after a jury determined that a California groundskeeper contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from spraying glyphosate for years. Dewayne Johnson, who maintained the grounds of a California Bay-area school district, was awarded $289 million by a jury, which found that Monsanto acted with “malice or oppression.” Mr. Johnson’s case was the first of its kind to go to trial – fast tracked based on the severity of his illness – but over 8,000 similar lawsuits are pending in U.S. courts. Bayer’s Monsanto claims that the verdict does not reflect the scientific data. “While we are sympathetic to Mr. Johnson and his family, glyphosate is not responsible for his illness, and the verdict in this case should be reversed or set aside,” Bayer said in a September 18 statement. While Bayer contends that glyphosate does not result in individual applicators contracting cancer, this view is at odds with a 2015 designation from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which determined the chemical is a probable carcinogen, […]

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16
Aug

Independent Science Plus Industry Corruption Convince Jury that Monsanto’s Glyphosate/Roundup Causes Cancer; Take Action in Your Community

(Beyond Pesticides, August 16, 2018) The jury verdict last week awarding groundskeeper Dewayne “Lee” Johnson $289 million in compensatory and punitive damages because of the carcinogenic effect caused by the herbicide glyphosate/Roundup, which he used, brought to the forefront a long standing concern about inadequate regulation of hazardous pesticides and chemical industry corruption. In the case, the jury heard from numerous scientists and medical experts, including Christopher Portier, Ph.D., who has researched the toxicity and carcinogenicity of glyphosate. One of the challenges in the court case was overcoming the lack of regulatory action on glyphosate, despite the overwhelming science indicating its adverse effects, including its connection to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Globally, food safety agencies have spent the past few years insisting that glyphosate is not carcinogenic. Health and environment advocates point to the 2015 International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) designation of glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen” as the knell to which regulators, pesticide users, and the public should pay attention. The jury listened and considered the scientific facts. Glyphosate has perhaps been the subject of more controversy than any other pesticide in recent memory. Advocates in the scientific and environmental realms note the multiple risks its use represents, while […]

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15
Aug

Australia, Germany Urged to Restrict Glyphosate after U.S. Court Ruling

(Beyond Pesticides, August 15, 2018) The recent court ruling awarding $289 million in compensatory and punitive damages to a groundskeeper after he contracted cancer while working with Monsanto’s Roundup (glyphosate) is having a ripple effect around the globe. In light of the decision, the environmental group Greenpeace is calling on the Australian government to suspend the sale of Roundup. Meanwhile, German lawmakers are eager to see glyphosate banned. A California jury found Monsanto liable in a lawsuit filed by a man who worked as as groundskeeper and used the company’s glyphosate-based herbicide, which he proved caused his cancer. The jury found that Monsanto “knew for decades” the product was potentially dangerous and acted “with malice or oppression” by failing to warn Johnson of the risks. Now Greenpeace is calling on the Australian government to take “urgent action” to suspend the sale of the weedkiller. “We need to be urgently exercising the precautionary principle,” said Jamie Hanson, Greenpeace’s head of campaigns. “Use of this dangerous product should be severely restricted. In Australia, the U.S. court decision sent shares of Australian pesticide-maker, Nufarm Ltd, tumbling almost 17 percent to a more than two-year low. Analysts estimate Nufarm earns about a fifth of its […]

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12
Aug

Groundskeeper Who Used Monsanto’s Herbicide Roundup and Contracted the Cancer non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) Wins $289 Million Jury Verdict

(Beyond Pesticides, August 12, 2018) In a stunning legal victory for a man who contracted non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) after using the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup), groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson won a $289 million jury verdict against the chemical’s manufacturer, Monsanto. The jury on August 10, 2018 awarded the 46-year old Mr. Johnson $39 million in compensatory damages, and $250 million in punitive damages. The jury found that Monsanto acted with “malice or oppression.” “We applaud and thank Mr. Johnson, and his family and attorneys, for persevering in this litigation, which sets a critically important standard for protecting people’s right not be poisoned by pesticides in the marketplace,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. Mr. Feldman continued: “While we know that the jury verdict cannot restore Mr. Johnson’s health, we believe that the verdict is a clarion call to manufacturers that ignore the devastating impact that their products can have on unsuspecting workers, consumers, and families. We look forward to the day in the not-too-distant future when we recognize as a society that products like glyphosate (Roundup) are not necessary, and effective and affordable land and building management can be achieved without toxic chemicals. The case should also signal to all […]

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10
Aug

U.S. Court Tells EPA to Ban Chlorpyrifos

(Beyond Pesticides, August 10, 2018) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must ban a widely used organophosphate pesticide linked to brain damage in children, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday. The appellate court ordered EPA to finalize its proposed ban on chlorpyrifos, produced by DowDupont, based on undisputed findings that the pesticide is unsafe for public health, and particularly harmful to children and farmworkers. The ruling comes in a lawsuit brought by a coalition of labor and health organizations, represented by Earthjustice. In the absence of EPA action, states have started to stand up. In May, the state legislature in  Hawaii passed legislation, which took effect in May, to become the first state to ban the chemical. On July 30, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released its scientific assessment concluding that the organophosphate insecticide, chlorpyrifos, should be listed as a Toxic Air Contaminant (TAC) in the state based on evidence of its neurological effects and exposure risks of concern. Legislation is also pending in Congress to ban chlorpyrifos and similar pesticides nationwide. Chlorpyrifos is a dangerous nerve agent pesticide that can damage the developing brains of children. Prenatal and early life exposure to chlorpyrifos is linked to lower birth weight […]

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17
Jul

Final Arguments Made in Court to Ban Chlorpyrifos

(Beyond Pesticides, July 17, 2018) Last week, closing arguments were made in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) refusal to ban chlorpyrifos, the pesticide science links to a host of neurological impairments in children. A coalition of labor and health organizations represented by Earthjustice asked a panel of three judges to overturn former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision not to ban chlorpyrifos. In June 2017, a dozen health, labor, and civil rights organizations represented by Earthjustice filed an administrative appeal to EPA urging the federal government to ban chlorpyrifos. The attorneys general of New York, California, Washington, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland and Vermont also filed their own appeal calling for a ban. The groups also filed a court case that asked the 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco to decide the issues presented in the administrative appeal because of the likelihood of a delayed resolution by the EPA. This was the last hearing where the health and labor groups, as well as states, were able to present their arguments to the court of appeals and answer the judges’ questions. The New York Attorney General’s office also presented arguments on behalf of seven states, which intervened in […]

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30
May

Lawsuit Seeks to Restore Protections for Migratory Birds

(Beyond Pesticides, May 30, 2018) Six environmental groups have sued the Trump Administration for reversing a long standing interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treat Act (MBTA) that provides migratory bird protections from incidental killing or “taking” caused by industrial activities. The lawsuit, National Audubon Society v. Department of the Interior, was filed May 24, 2018 in the Southern District of New York, challenging as “unlawful and arbitrary and capricious the December 22, 2017 Solicitor’s Memorandum M-37050, which was issued by the office of the Solicitor of the Department of the Interior (“DOI”) and reverses Defendants DOI’s and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“FWS” or “Service”) longstanding interpretation and implementation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.” The Act’s prohibition on the killing or “taking” of migratory birds has long been understood to extend to incidental take from industrial activities — meaning unintentional but predictable and avoidable killing. Last year, the Trump Administration issued a Memorandum gutting federal protections for migratory birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The plaintiffs, including American Bird Conservancy, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, are seeking to protect waterfowl, […]

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25
Apr

Canadian Beekeeper’s Class Action Neonicotinoid Lawsuit Moves Ahead

(Beyond Pesticides, April 25, 2018)  A class-action lawsuit against two manufacturers of neonicotinoid insecticides is moving ahead in Quebec, Canada after an appeal to block the case by the Canadian government and the chemical companies, Bayer and Syngenta, was dismissed. In February 2018, the case, brought by a beekeeper, was allowed to proceed to trial by the Quebec Superior Court. Quebec queen bee breeder, Steve Martineau, conducted tests on water and his dead and dying bees and found traces of neonicotinoids. His suit alleges that Bayer and Syngenta were negligent in the manufacture and sale of neonicotinoids in Quebec, and are responsible for damages that he and other class members suffered under Article 1457 of the Quebec Civil Code. Bayer and Syngenta challenged the application on a number of grounds including the assumption that they had manufactured the neonicotinoids which killed Martineau’s bees. The class in this case was authorized for all persons in Quebec who own or owned bees in the affected area since 2006. Mr. Martineau estimates he has lost about $20,000 a year to present due to the effects of neonicotinoids on his bee population (Martineau v. Bayer CropScience Inc. CALN/2018-007) “We’re suing on behalf of Quebec beekeepers whose bees were […]

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24
Apr

Court Affirms Listing Glyphosate as Probable Carcinogen

(Beyond Pesticides, April, 24, 2018) On April 19, 2018, an Appellate Court in California sided with the State of California, affirming that Monsanto’s glyphosate can be listed as a probable carcinogen under the state’s Proposition 65 and rejecting Monsanto’s challenge to law. The state will not only move ahead with warning labels on products that contain glyphosate but also prohibit discharge of the pesticide into public waterways. Monsanto’s lawsuit challenged the 2015 decision by California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to list glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide, Roundup, under California’s Proposition 65. Proposition 65 requires notification and labeling of all chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and prohibits their discharge into drinking waters of the state. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic.”  Under the Labor Code listing mechanism of Proposition 65, substances identified by IARC must be listed in the state of California as known to cause cancer. This listing requires warning labels on products and the listed substances are subject to limits on discharges into surface waters. California added glyphosate to the list of cancer-causing chemicals in July […]

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27
Mar

Judge Rules EPA Violated Pesticide Rules in Delaying Protections for Farmworker Children

(Beyond Pesticides, March 27, 2018) In a major win for farmworker and health groups, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled last Wednesday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) illegally delayed implementation of key pesticide rules that in part prevent minors from working with the most dangerous pesticides. The rule revised rules mandate pesticide applicators be at least 18 years old. According to the EPA, there are about one million certified applicators nationwide. Before delaying implementation, the agency said the revised rule could prevent some 1,000 acute poisonings every year. In addition to requiring applicators to be at least 18-years-old, the revised 2017 Certification of Pesticide Applicators (CPA) rule also improves the quality of training materials and says certified pesticide applicators must be able to read and understand the instructions. The main purpose of the CPA rule is to protect workers and the public from poisonings, by ensuring that those who handle the most dangerous pesticides are properly trained and certified. “We commend the court for recognizing that this important pesticide safeguard is needed to prevent injury to farmworkers and the public,” said Stacey Geis, Earthjustice managing attorney. “This ruling puts EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on notice that the courts […]

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23
Feb

Monsanto Loses Lawsuit to Stop Dicamba Ban in Arkansas

(Beyond Pesticides, February 23, 2018) Agrichemical corporation Monsanto has lost its bid to halt a statewide ban on the use of its specialty dicamba herbicide in Arkansas. Despite a lengthy process of evaluation and public comment that led to a prohibition on the use of drift-prone dicamba herbicides during the growing season on Arkansas farms, Monsanto made one last-ditch attempt to stop the law from going into effect by suing the entire state. With the industry’s loss, Arkansas is on track to implement the toughest restrictions against dicamba in the U.S. State Circuit Court Judge Chris Piazza dismissed the lawsuit last week based on a recent Arkansas Supreme Court ruling, which held that the state cannot be made a defendant in court. Monsanto’s lawsuit argued against the makeup of the state’s Plant Board, which voted to prohibit the company’s product last November. Monsanto also made claims that the state did not consider the economic damage a ban on the herbicide would cause, despite not seeking monetary restitution in court. Beyond Pesticides led a nationwide campaign to urge action by the Arkansas Plant Board to ban dicamba. Dicamba is an herbicide originally registered for use in 1967 to control broadleaf weeds. […]

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13
Feb

Court Ruling Stops Trump Administration from Withholding Documents in GE Salmon Case

(Beyond Pesticides, February 13, 2018) Arguments by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to withhold from public and court review key documents revealing how it approved the first genetically engineered (GE) salmon were rejected by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Now, documents detailing how the agency reviewed and approved the GE animal will have to be produced for court review in the ongoing case challenging its controversial approval. Thousands of pages of government documents pertaining to the 2015 approval of GE salmon for human consumption were being withheld even after plaintiffs challenging the approval demanded that FDA provide all the information the agency considered in its decision. The case, Institute for Fisheries Resources v. Burwell, Case No. 3:16-cv-01574-VC, brought by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Earthjustice on behalf the Institute for Fisheries Resources, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Golden Gate Salmon Association, Kennebec Reborn, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay, Cascadia Wildlands, Ecology Action Center, Friends of the Earth, Center for Biological Diversity, Food and Water Watch, and the Quinault Indian Nation, was filed in 2016 after FDA approved its first-ever GE food animal, an Atlantic salmon engineered to grow quickly. The lawsuit challenges FDA’s claim that […]

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22
Dec

It is an honor to work with you, the members and network of Beyond Pesticides

Thank you for your support and collaboration. Onward in 2018! (Beyond Pesticides, December 22, 2017)  We deeply appreciate your donation to our program in 2017 and it is easy to donate HERE. Year in Review At Beyond Pesticides, we collaborate with organizations and advocate across the country to get our message out on the threat that pesticides pose to human health and the environment. We support local action to stop this threat. And, we assist communities nationwide with the adoption of organic management practices that are more effective and protective than chemical-intensive practices. The partnerships that have been established are, at a more rapid pace, resulting in the adoption of land management practices that are supported by Beyond Pesticides’ strategic vision for a world free of toxic pesticides. Information for Action Beyond Pesticides expanded its role in the forefront of pesticide and organic advocacy with our Action of Week  and Q&A of the Week, in addition to our Daily News, which identifies and delves into key science, policy, and actions that inform local action. The Summer issue of our journal, Pesticides and You, highlighted David Montgomery’s talk at Beyond Pesticides’ National Forum on the importance of soil microbiota and gut microbiome to healthy ecosystems […]

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11
Oct

Lawsuit Filed to Protect Endangered Species from Neonicotinoid Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, October 11, 2017) Last week, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) registration of neonicotinoid pesticides – acetamiprid, dinotefuran, and imidacloprid, and the agency’s failure to first consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the pesticides’ impact on threatened or endangered species. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenges the failure of the federal government to evaluate the impacts of neonicotinoid pesticides (“neonics”) on threatened and endangered species, like the rusty patched bumble bee, the black-capped vireo, and the San Bruno elfin butterfly. The suit cites widespread presence of neonics in the environment which presents serious risks to wildlife across large portions of the country. It contends that they pose significant adverse consequences to threatened and endangered species. According to the lawsuit, because of toxicity and pervasive environmental contamination, NRDC is now challenging EPA’s registrations of pesticide products containing one of three main neonic active ingredients—acetamiprid, dinotefuran, and imidacloprid—and seeks vacatur of those registrations until EPA complies with the law. “The EPA ignored endangered bees, butterflies, and birds when it approved the widespread use of neonics,” said Rebecca Riley, a senior […]

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26
Sep

USDA Study Confirms Concerns about Electronic GE Labeling Law

(Beyond Pesticides, September, 26, 2017) A congressionally mandated study belatedly released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) questions the feasibility of electronic disclosures as a means of providing consumers with information on genetically engineered (GE) food ingredients. The study, which should have been published in July 2017 by law, confirms concerns held by many that “electronic and digital disclosures” (QR codes) will pose technological challenges for consumers, limiting access to food information. The study was required by the 2016 Federal Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standards Act (the “GE Labeling Act”) to help inform the establishment of federal standards for labeling by July 2018. USDA issued the study just days after the Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a lawsuit challenging the agency’s unlawful withholding of the required study. Twelve days after the lawsuit was submitted on August 24, USDA publicly released the study p. The labeling law allows USDA to consider several options: on-package text, a GE symbol on packages, or “electronic or digital disclosures,” which would require shoppers to use a smart phone to scan packages to access a website or call a 1-800 number for every single product to find out if it was produced with genetic engineering. The study is crucial in analyzing […]

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07
Sep

Lawsuit Filed on GE Food Labeling

(Beyond Pesticides, September 7, 2017) Last month, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump Administration for its failure to comply with the 2016 federal law on the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food, National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law.  Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are charged with implementing the new labeling rules, and part of that process is a study on “electronic and digital disclosures” (QR codes) for GE foods, as opposed to on-package text.  That study was required to be finished by July 2017, with an opportunity for public commetn, but USDA never met it legal obligation. The federal lawsuit is seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against USDA regarding that agency’s failure to comply with mandatory deadlines established by the 2016 Federal Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standards Act (the “GE Labeling Act”). The suit contends that the “American public deserves full disclosure, the right to transparency and free choice in the marketplace.” Consumers have advocated for mandatory labeling of GE foods for nearly two decades. Polls show that over 90% of U.S. residents support requiring the labeling of GE foods, as 64 countries already do, including many U.S. trade partners […]

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