In an action brought by a major Latino farmworker union, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California overturned efforts by EPA to delay the implementation of the Certified Pesticide Applicator rule. In January 2017, the EPA determined to revise the rule and in the interim sought to postpone its effective date from March 2017 to March 2020. The judge ruled that the delay would cause the plaintiffs to suffer injury and that EPA failed to comply with the Administrative Procedures Act. The Court annulled the rulemakings postponing the rule and reinstated the original timeline for implementation.
This decision represents a major victory for agricultural and pesticide workers. Of these revisions, the most significant entail strengthening regulations on certified applicators. Certification is required for the use of restricted use pesticides (RUPs). RUPs are known to be highly toxic and responsible for acute toxicity issues in persons that apply and handle them. The rule requires states to update their certification plans in accordance with the updated regulations, and to combat poisoning issues and promote worker safety, establishes for the first time a nationwide minimum age for certifying pesticide applicators. The rule mandates that people be at least 18 years old to become certified, with a provision that allows family members at least 16 years old to become certified, effective only on the certified applicator’s family farm.
The budget bill which passed the House on March 22 contains the Rohrabacher (R-CA)-Blumenauer (D-OR) amendment, which prohibits the expenditure of Federal funds to take any enforcement action against anyone acting in compliance with a state medical marijuana program. Enactment by the Senate and signing by the President is anticipated. Assuming enactment the protection will continue until September 30, 2018, the end of the Federal fiscal year. Efforts by the Colorado delegation to extend protection to state recreational marijuana programs failed.
With state-level cannabis legalization for medical and recreational use sweeping across the United States, policymakers have found themselves limited in their ability to share developments and best practices within the cannabis industry. To alleviate this information bottleneck, the New York State Bar Association created a new Cannabis Law Committee to facilitate information-sharing amongst lawyers on developments within cannabis policy.
Telisport Putsavage, of Putsavage PLLC and EnviroReg LLC, has been appointed to represent the Environment and Energy Section on the Cannabis Law Committee, in which only 20 people out of 70,000 were selected. Mr. Putsavage will be joining ranks with other lawyers to discuss the conflicting state and federal cannabis laws and how best the state of New York can develop its cannabis industry. Mr. Putsavage’s specific connection to the industry is his representation on matters related to the use of pesticides in the cultivation of cannabis.
In a win for Monsanto Co. and U.S. farmers, California’s proposed labels warning that glyphosate is a cancer-causing chemical were suspended. Commonly sold under the moniker “Roundup”, glyphosate is the widely used herbicide in agriculture and is extensively used by consumers. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) listed glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic,” triggering California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65). Proposition 65 requires businesses to inform consumers of products that contain chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects.
While the IARC listed glyphosate as being “probably carcinogenic,” multiple organizations including the EPA have come out against the IARC, stating there is no evidence that glyphosate is carcinogenic.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an agreement with Amazon Services LLC to settle allegations that Amazon committed nearly four thousand violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, including selling and distributing imported pesticide products that were not registered for sale in the United States. In addition to paying a penalty of $1,215,700, Amazon will develop a multi-language online training course on pesticide regulations available to the public and marketers. Amazon will require that all marketers that are planning to sell pesticides on their website complete this training course.
For more information go to https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/amazon-services-llc-fifra-settlement.