Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Reinstates Use of Chlorpyrifos

Web AdminPest Management

There has been much concern in recent years on regulatory restrictions that are or could potentially limit crop protection tools growers have available to manage key pests. One such example was the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ban on the use of chlorpyrifos. The EPA revoked the tolerances for all uses of chlorpyrifos in 2021. The product had been an important pest management tool for specialty crop growers.


That ban was challenged in the courts last year by farm groups, including Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Association and others. On Nov. 2, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled that the EPA had rushed a ban on the use of chlorpyrifos on food crops.

The legal challenge had petitioned the courts to restore growers use of chlorpyrifos on the 11 crops that passed all EPA risk assessment requirements. It is anticipated that the EPA will request a suspension of the cancellation proceeding that it issued earlier. The agency will then need to update the labeling requirements for the allowable registrations.

The Eight Circuit noted that the EPA acted by revoking all tolerances for chlorpyrifos, and the the agency’s excuse that it simply didn’t have time to study case-by-case scenarios and potential problematic exposures was not adequate. Those actions must be based on sound science and the law.

The judges noted: “The EPA had to act quickly. But a short deadline is no excuse for zeroing in on a single solution to the exclusion of others. Its too-narrow view of its own authority kept it from considering an important aspect of the problem.”

The court further noted: “Its [EPA’s] decision was arbitrary and capricious… so we grant the petitions for review and vacate its order.”

American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Zippy Duvall noted: “AFBF appreciates the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals for recognizing that the EPA failed to follow the law when it revoked the use of chlorpyrifos. Farmers and ranchers are committed to growing safe and nutritious food, and they use science to guide decisions on how to manage pests and insects. Today’s decision sends a message to EPA that it, too, must use sound science when drafting rules.”