EPA Faces Lawsuit For Withholding Records Related To Pesticide Rule Change

By Derrick Broze

The Environmental Protection Agency is facing a lawsuit for failing to release records related to its decision to remove two rules aimed at protecting farm workers and children from harmful pesticides.

On Tuesday, Farmworker Justice and Earthjustice sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for refusing to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request related to the agency’s recent decision to revise two rules designed to protect farmers from dangerous pesticides. The two groups filed the lawsuit in federal court alleging that the EPA is withholding records of meetings and communications which led to the December 2017 decision to examine – and potentially remove – the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard and Certification for Pesticide Applicators rule.

Earthjustice attorney Carrie Apfel called the rules “tremendously important safeguards” which protect up to 2.5 million farm workers who handle pesticides. “Farmworkers and their families have a right to know who EPA met with and what was discussed leading up to this terrible decision,” Apfel stated in a press release.

The battle over these two rules goes back to November 2015 when the EPA finalized the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard after 15 years of study and stakeholders meetings. Earthjustice’s lawsuit claims the EPA estimated the rule would avoid or mitigate up to 73 percent of reported pesticide poisonings each year and reduce “chronic health problems among workers and [pesticide] handlers by reducing daily exposures.” The rules, which were still being established in January 2017 before Donald Trump became president, created new guidelines for handling pesticides, including a minimum age requirement.

By December 2017, the EPA announced they would begin revisiting the Certification for Pesticide Applicators rule after delaying the rule’s effective date from March 6, 2017 to May 22, 2018. Only two days later the EPA also announced it would revise and possibly remove the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard. Immediately following this decision Earthjustice filed requests for emails, meeting notes, and other relevant records for eight EPA employees. Earthjustice is also seeking records relating to EPA communications with farm lobby groups the American Farm Bureau Federation and CropLife America.

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“These documents may be key to understanding why EPA suddenly decided to reject safeguards that it took decades to study and approve,” said Virginia Ruiz, director of occupational and environmental health at Farmworker Justice. “The fact is, there is no justification for delaying common-sense measures to prevent pesticide poisonings and deaths.”

In March the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled the EPA had illegally delayed implementation of the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard and Certification for Pesticide Applicators rule. Earthjustice applauded the decision at the time. However, the court’s recognition that the EPA has been acting illegally by delaying implementation of the safety measures does not guarantee the agency will be forthcoming with documents requested by Earthjustice. For the moment, the American public remains in the dark regarding the reasoning behind the EPA’s resistance to protect farm workers and children from dangerous pesticides.

Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for ActivistPost.com and the founder of the TheConsciousResistance.com. Follow him on Twitter. Derrick is the author of three books: The Conscious Resistance: Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 1, Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 2 and Manifesto of the Free Humans.

Derrick is available for interviews. Please contact [email protected]

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9 Comments on "EPA Faces Lawsuit For Withholding Records Related To Pesticide Rule Change"

  1. a few guesses
    number one: monsanto
    two: bayer
    need i carry on?

  2. RJ O'Guillory | April 19, 2018 at 11:05 am | Reply

    …gee…what a shock…even under Trump The US Government is corrupt….
    RJ O’Guillory

    • Can’t get into politics unless one is crooked, the more crooked they are, the higher the office they can achieve……. imagine how crooked Trump really is, he’s equal to Hillary, … maybe different, but, equally crooked.

      • RJ O'Guillory | April 19, 2018 at 2:43 pm | Reply

        …sadly…you may be correct…

      • Difference between Trump v. Hillary – when would you like WW3 -now (would have been Hillary) or a bit later (Trump).

        • With HRC it would have started in Syria, With Trump, God only knows where it will start. He’s pushing peoples buttons all over the world. Sooner or later someone’s going to call his bluff, could be China, all that BS navy crap in the S.China Sea, enhanced by trade problems. Could be with Russia over the chem. lies and BS in Syria, enhanced by sanctions. Or could be N.Korea. Trump is a loose cannon, using school yard bully diplomacy, someone is going to get tired of his childish antics.

  3. EPA & FDA – two of the most corrupt government agencies ever in the entire history of this country. These two are so corrupt and compromised the only thing to do is dismantle both and replace with three agencies: environmental, drugs, and food. And the food agency would have the mandate to ensure Americans were getting God given organic foods – not Monsanto toxins.

    • the fools allowed sludge from the sewer treatment plants to be put on the fields as fertilizer calling it organic..so beware of the dangers of organic..theres been several diseases as a result..ecoli for one

  4. I have been a licensed Commercial Pesticide Applicator for more than 3 decades. You guys have to listen up here; these certifying bodies are not farmers, have no political affiliations and are always under the ‘umbrella’ of a big Universities Cooperative Extension service.

    I KNOW this field. To allow anybody willy nilly to use pesticides when they do not know the difference between a plant and an animal is flat out irresponsible.

    These seminars and tests given by these Cooperative Extension Services (Master Gardeners, Master Food Preservers, Master Composters….Pesticide Applicators) teach people basic botany, entomology, soils, biology, chemistry. Yes, most of them are your hired landscape maintenance hispanics. Fabulous education, critical knowledge every single human should know. People allow others that have absolutely no idea about what it is they are doing to cut their lawn, mulch beds, fertilize and spray, shake unknown chemicals called pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, miticides are all lumped in the label PESTICIDE) when the ONLY TIME one needs to use a pesticide is to correct or try to correct a preventable mistake and it usually makes a problem way worse.

    The WORST offenders are home owners, not big industries. Honest. All those homeowners using pesticide to kill plants…I mean, that is their level of knowledge…they are very bad, never read the instructions, MSDS sheets and have access to chemicals they willy nilly use without regard to consequences

    At least big industries have to be careful to follow rules, use people that not only understand an MSDS sheet but have been taught to read the label and the MSDS sheet 5 times each and every time they intend to use that chemical. Aluminum and Phosphate industries started a ‘rumor’ that fluoride was good for teeth..long ago. Hydrofluorosilicic Acid plus odds and ends like lead and arsenic are the industrial waste products belonging to these two industries. To be caught dumping this waste anywhere near the ocean, rivers, aquifers would incur such huge fines the entire industry could be shut down. To pay the price to dispose of correctly…way too high. So someone made up a rumor that this stuff was good to coat teeth with to stop carries. Not true. These industries get paid now to get rid of an industrial waste so toxic…heck, it is just below the toxicity of mercury. And it is in everything; can goods, bottled waters, Cheerios and other cereals, prepared foods..body doesn’t eliminate this stuff at all. Stores this crap in our bones making them brittle brittle brittle. Our teeth? Bright white spots and then brown pitts. Our brains? Lowers IQ and really dumbs us down.

    We peon peasant people need to get off our butts, start researching, get some basic science down first, okay? Because Monsanto/Bayer and thousands of others expect to get away with ‘murder’ or ‘crime’ because none of us know basic sciences, chemistry. Don’t depend on celebrity scientists that is for sure, shame on them.

    In our pesticide seminars we were taught how to prevent problems. We learned basics about the chemistry of the different classes of pesticides. Never ever did we discuss brands. Never ever were we told ‘wow, try this pesticide, it is truly a miracle worker’…never.

    To stop this program is the height of idiocy. The pesticide program is critical otherwise everyone out in our yards and on our fields of food knows NOTHING. No oversight at all.

    I am also a Landscape Architect, 3X Master Gardener, teach seminars for landscape workers, teach plant ID, teach grading and drainage…etc.

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