Daily News Archive
August 31, 2006
Court Upholds EPA Pesticide Rule Allowing Ozone-Depleting Pesticide
(Beyond Pesticides, August 31, 2006)
A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a pesticide rule issued by
the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2004, saying that the regulation
does not violate the Clean Air Act even though it may conflict with
an international environmental treaty signed by the U.S. that phases
out the use of the methyl bromide, an ozone-depleting and cancer-causing
agricultural fumigant. The ruling came after the Natural Resources Defense
Council (NRDC) sued EPA in 2005, arguing that the agency permitted chemical
companies to boost supplies of methyl bromide instead of phasing out
the contentious pesticide as outlined in the Montreal Protocol (See
Daily News Story
"EPA is pleased with the court's decision. EPA and the Bush Administration
remain committed to finishing the job of restoring and protecting the
ozone layer, protecting public health and meeting critical needs of
American farmers as they make the transition to methyl bromide alternatives,"
an agency spokesperson said.
In the ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said that
the NRDC had the legal right to have its case considered, but maintained
that EPA didn't break the December 2004 law, which allowed for a 2 million
pound increase in the use of methyl bromide in 2005 alone (See Daily
News Story 12/17/04).
The NRDC in its lawsuit had argued that EPA's move violated both the
Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol, an international environmental
treaty on ozone. But the court, in a unanimous decision, said that an
international treaty could not be considered a federal "law"
and as such, was not enforceable in federal court.
The Montreal Protocol, signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987 and
supported by subsequent U.S. presidents from both political parties,
is intended to protect the ozone layer, which shields us from harmful
cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation that increases risks of skin cancer,
cataracts and immune disease. In addition to being a potent ozone-depleter,
methyl bromide also causes prostate cancer in agricultural workers and
others who are directly exposed, according to the National Cancer Institute.
ACTION: Write President
Bush in the White House and insist that the U.S. comply with the
Montreal Protocol and begin implementing alternatives to methyl bromide.