September 26, 2019
Dow files detailed response to California’s cancellation of chlorpyrifos
The notice of defense filed by Dow AgroSciences last week runs about 1,000 pages long. The main document denies each of the allegations against the agrochemical company’s insecticide products. It also cites numerous comments Dow submitted to the Department of Pesticide Regulations since it began implementing strict mitigation procedures two years ago.
The California attorney general’s office had filed its complaint against the registrants in August. The administration’s argument has been that chlorpyrifos directly causes an inhibition in the brains of children linked to neurodevelopmental disorders.
A flawed regulatory process: Dow denies “that a meaningful notice and comment rulemaking occurred and also that any Scientific Review Panel is ‘independent.’”
Dosage: Dow says the acute exposure effects would only “result from over-exposures such as poisonings and would not result from exposures under labeled use conditions.”
Studies: “Single epidemiology studies cannot determine causation” for the physiological effects in human brains. Dow also argues the “outcomes have been overgeneralized” across the studies and the “specific results are not reproduced across all studies.”
EPA’s July order: Dow points out that EPA found a “lack of any meaningful raw data from these studies.” It adds that newer findings still do not support the possible linkages between exposure and the neurodevelopmental effects.
Toxic Air Contaminant: The company says “a rigorous evaluation of the science” does not support DPR’s listing as a TAC. It also claims DPR’s hypothetical exposure scenario for this has “significant overestimation bias.”
Food residue: Dow calls the DPR finding about chlorpyrifos residue on food products a “scientifically-invalid claim of dietary exposures” due to the research not including “the actual residues.”
Next? Dow government affairs manager Caroline Silveira said, “the discussions are ongoing with regard to next steps.” The company is cataloguing the updates on a website, along with plenty of marketing about benefits and safety claims for chlorpyrifos.
US ag gets better access to Japan in trade deal
U.S. farm groups are already counting on seeing ag exports to Japan increasing next year when the new trade pact – signed on Wednesday by President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – is expected to take effect on Jan. 1.
U.S. wheat farmers and exporters have been worried for months about losing business to foreign competitors after Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Japan cut tariffs for Australia, Canada and European Union countries.
U.S. pork producers were especially worried, but now the National Pork Producers Council is already predicting increased exports to Japan. Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes projects pork exports will increase by about $600 million over the next 15 years under the agreement.
Another view: “The president said we’d get better deals from bilateral deals, but here we are, with some commodities getting less than what we would have gotten in TPP,” said Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif.
Rice growers would have been allocated quotas in Japan under the TPP, but rice was left out of this bilateral deal. Still, the senior House Ag Committee member said the agreement would be “a step toward regaining some of what we’ve lost” from pulling out of the TPP.
Western Growers CEO Tom Nassif said in a statement that this “opens up real market opportunities for producers of fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts.” He added that eliminating tariffs on almonds, blueberries, walnuts, broccoli, prunes, cherries and oranges “will result in significant export opportunities.”
The Walnut Commission notes that Japan is its fourth leading export market, at $90 million. The industry has invested over $58 million to develop the market, which has grown more than 44% over the last five years. “We eagerly anticipate the new opportunities,” said the commission’s Jack Mariani in a statement.
Meghan Hertel, director of land and water conservation at the Audubon Society, shakes hands with Attorney General Xavier Becerra at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area.
California sues feds over endangered species standards
In lawsuit No. 62 against the Trump administration, Attorney General Xavier Becerra is now taking on the EPA over three new rules to the Endangered Species Act. Joining the lawsuit yesterday were 17 other states.
“We’re trying to undo what the president is proposing to do,” he said, during a speech yesterday on climate change and massive bird losses across the globe.
With biological opinions and voluntary agreements, Becerra responded: “It would be tough for me to tell you what the impact of this lawsuit will be directly.”
With the governor’s coming veto of SB 1, Becerra said the timing of the announcement was not intended to boost the governor’s environmental efforts during Climate Week.
Missing in the conversation: Becerra held his press conference in a wildlife refuge in Davis, alongside a director from the Audubon Society. The rice fields a few feet away are often flooded in winter, creating a critical habitat for endangered fish and bird species. This happened through an Audubon partnership with farmers and the state, a sharp contrast to the legal actions promoted by Becerra.
Oregon cannabis farm (Oregon Agriculture Department)
Get out the checkbook: House OKs cannabis bill
Banks would be protected from federal regulators when the institutions deal with businesses that are legally involved in cannabis under a bill that has passed the House.
The SAFE (Secure and Fair Enforcement) Banking Act needed a two-thirds majority under a fast-track “suspension” procedure and still passed easily Wednesday, 321-103.
Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., is sponsoring a similar bill in the Senate.
Corteva’s Jim Collins
CEO: Climate challenge requires ‘multiplying’ industry efforts
Jim Collins, the CEO of Corteva Agriscience, says the seed and chemical giant is talking to other company executives about ways that the food and agriculture sector can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Speaking at the National Press Club Wednesday, Collins disclosed that the group will be meeting on the sidelines of the World Food Prize events next month in Des Moines. Collins said the effort also is enlisting academics and non-governmental organizations. He didn’t identify the other companies, but said more meetings are in the planning stages. A Corteva spokesman described the Iowa meeting as private.
“Imagine multiplying one company's efforts with other companies and other organizations across the Food and Ag value chain. At Corteva, we’re convinced that this is part of the future,” he said.
Read more about Collins’ remarks here.
She said it:
“There have never been so many pieces going in the same direction. The opportunity to move forward together is here.” – CDFA Secretary Karen Ross at the Future of Food Conference in New York for Climate Week.
Bill Tomson, Steve Davies and Ben Nuelle contributed to this report.
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