Bayer won't pursue court appeal of Belt cancellation
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2016 - Bayer CropScience has decided to drop any further attempts to challenge cancellation of its registration for the insecticide flubendiamide, which it had sold under the trade name Belt.
The company made the announcement today, the deadline for filing an appeal in federal court of an EPA Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) decision in July, which upheld a previous ruling by an agency administrative law judge (ALJ).
Bayer also said it would not pursue “a new, full registration for flubendiamide,” which could have taken years.
Appealing in federal court or applying for registration “may have given us an opportunity to be heard on the science, (but) that opportunity was far from certain,” Bayer said.
“Additionally, growers would not have access to the products as the process played out, potentially over several years' time. Perhaps more importantly, both options carried a fair amount of risk, including the potential that some of the gains we made with the EAB decision would be lost.”
Bayer said it would “accept the gains” from the EAB ruling. The EAB modified the ALJ's decision by allowing sales of existing stocks of the product to growers by distributors and retailers.
Belt was registered in 2008 and has been used on over 200 crops, including soybeans, almonds, tobacco, peanuts, cotton, lettuce, alfalfa, tomatoes, watermelon, and bell peppers.
Bayer noted it had taken the “unprecedented step” of challenging the terms of Belt's approval, which required Bayer to voluntarily cancel the registration if EPA found that flubendiamide caused unreasonable adverse effects on the environment. The agency said its tests showed that the product posed “risks to aquatic invertebrates that are important to the health of aquatic environments,” a conclusion disputed by Bayer.
In refusing to voluntarily cancel the registration, Bayer said it was “driven by the belief that EPA had acted unlawfully and without scientific justification. Specifically, we believed that EPA should not be permitted to force a cancellation through a streamlined process devoid of a public discussion of scientific findings and benefits of the product, and that EPA's conduct presented a dangerous precedent for the industry.”
The company said it had hoped that the litigation “would focus on the science. Unfortunately, it did not and the final ruling focused on process and procedure arguments.”
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