Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Court Decision Gives AFBF ‘Seat at Table’ in Pesticide Lawsuit

San Francisco--A June 3 decision by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California allowing the American Farm Bureau Federation and other agricultural groups to intervene in a major lawsuit over pesticide use and the Endangered Species Act gives the groups a “seat at the table” in settlement discussions, according to Ellen Steen, AFBF’s general counsel.

“The court’s decision in the lawsuit, Center for Biological Diversity v. Environmental Protection Agency, gives Farm Bureau and the other groups a voice in the lawsuit and allows us to object to any agreement that would limit the ability of farmers to use crop protection products,” Steen said.

On June 3, AFBF, National Agricultural Aviation Association, National Association of Forest Owners, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Potato Council, Oregonians for Food and Shelter, USA Rice Federation and Washington Friends of Farms and Forests Families filed the motion to intervene in the lawsuit. Other interested parties, such as Croplife America were also granted intervention and will take part in settlement discussions.

The CBD lawsuit seeks to impose use restrictions, or even outright bans, on hundreds of pesticides based on alleged risk to threatened or endangered species and “critical habitats” protected under the Endangered Species Act. CBD alleges that EPA violated the ESA by failing to consult with the Fish & Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service over the potential effects of 381 EPA-registered pesticides on 214 threatened and endangered species in 49 states and Puerto Rico.

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