U.S. Supreme Court denies review of EPA decision on carbofuran domestic tolerances

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition yesterday by FMC Corporation, the National Corn Growers Association, National Sunflower Association and National Potato Council for review of a lower appellate court ruling which had upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to deny an administrative hearing on the revocation of domestic tolerances for carbofuran. The groups expressed their disappointment in the Supreme Court’s decision.

“It’s unfortunate that the Supreme Court did not recognize the inconsistencies within the lower court ruling, which effectively deems the chemical safe for imported food but not for crops grown in the United Stated,” NCGA President Bart Schott said. “We hope the EPA’s handling of carbofuran is not an indication of how the agency intends to proceed with future product cancellations.”

NCGA is specifically concerned with the EPA’s decision to revoke the food tolerance for carbofuran before cancelling the product registration, which allows the agency to avoid a lengthy public hearing process. This creates a risk for growers that crops legally treated for protection against pests may not be sold after harvest.

FMC Director of Global Regulatory Affiars, Dr. Michael Morelli, said, “We are greatly disappointed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to review the lower court’s ruling on EPA’s actions, which sets a bad precedent for U.S. agriculture.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit earlier reinstated import tolerances for carbofuran for rice, bananas, coffee and sugar cane, noting in its written opinion that EPA had acknowledged that “exposure to carbofuran in imported foods alone is safe.”  In light of the fact, the court ruled that EPA’s decision to revoke the import tolerances for these foods was “arbitrary and capricious.”

FMC believes carbofuran is a safe product after 40 years of productive use without a single incident of dietary or drinking water injury. The grower associations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and all 50 Secretaries of State Departments of Agriculture went on record supporting the continued, but very limited use of carbofuran that FMC had proposed to EPA.

“While the outcome of this case is unfortunate, NCGA will continue to fight for the best available science in regulatory decisions,” Schott said.

Source: NCGA & FMC Corporation