The Environmental Protection Agency must respond by Tuesday to an emergency motion filed by four groups seeking to enforce the Ninth Circuit court’s June 3 order vacating over-the-top dicamba registrations.

In a brief order, the court directed EPA to file a response by 5 p.m. Pacific Time June 16. The petitioner groups, including the Center for Food Safety and Center for Biological Diversity, must file their reply two days later — Thursday, June 18, at the same time.

Also today, Corteva Agriscience (makers of FeXapan) and BASF (Engenia) filed motions to intervene in the case. They have not previously been involved.

Corteva said it is “seeking to intervene to preserve our rights and to support the rights of customers to use the impacted dicamba weed control technologies. We believe dicamba is an effective weed management tool for farmers when used according to the label.” 

BASF said it decided to try to take part in the case “after careful consideration of the sudden and severe financial impact vacating the registration has had on farmers during this critical application time, when farmers now have less than a month to protect millions of acres under threat from resistant weeds.”

Xtendimax maker Bayer intervened last year and argued in a brief last month in support of EPA that even if the court vacated the registrations, end-users should be allowed to use existing stocks.

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EPA’s June 8 cancellation order allows commercial applicators and growers to use what they have on hand, though EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler recently told state and national farm bureau representatives that retailers who have prepaid product also can distribute it.

In a statement today, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue accused the petitioners — and the Center for Biological Diversity by name — of seeking “to cripple American farmers and further limit their ability to feed, fuel, and clothe this nation and the world.”

“The Ninth Circuit should not allow plaintiffs’ hostility against the American farmer to cloud the fact that the EPA’s actions follow both legal precedent and common sense,” Perdue said.

That drew a rebuke from the co-counsel in the case, CBD’s Stephanie Parent. “The over-the-top use of these dicamba products was not available a few years ago,” she said. “The sky-is-falling approach is unsupported and alarmist. They are so accustomed to getting their way, this kind of punching back is typical bully behavior.”

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