For Immediate Release, April 20, 2015

Contact:  Paul Achitoff, Earthjustice, (808) 599-2436
Abigail Seiler, Center for Food Safety, (202) 547-9359
Lori Ann Burd, Center for Biological Diversity, (847) 567-4052
Paul Towers, Pesticide Action Network North America, (916) 216-1082


Coalition Challenges Expansion of Hazardous Herbicide Containing Agent Orange Ingredient

EPA Allows Nine Additional States to Use Toxic 2,4-D on GE Corn, Soy Crops

SAN FRANCISCO— A coalition of conservation, food-safety and public-health groups filed a motion today challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to expand the use of “Enlist Duo” on genetically engineered corn and soy crops to nine additional states: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma and North Dakota.

Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety filed the coalition motion — building on the coalition’s earlier challenge of Enlist Duo, which already includes six midwestern states where EPA previously approved the herbicide’s use on GE corn and soy crops — in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The groups are challenging the EPA’s decision to allow the use of Enlist Duo in 15 Midwest states because of the serious impacts the powerful new herbicide cocktail, which combines glyphosate and 2,4-D, will have on farmworkers, neighboring farms, and ground and surface water, as well as endangered species. For instance, 2,4-D, a component of the infamous Agent Orange, has been linked to serious illnesses like Parkinson’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and reproductive problems. The EPA’s analyses also demonstrate plainly that the herbicide may affect endangered species like the whooping crane, Louisiana black bear and Indiana bat through consumption of prey contaminated with the toxic chemical. 

“Big chemical is profiting over dumping more and more toxins in our air, water and bodies and killing our endangered wildlife,” said Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff.  “Instead of being an environmental watchdog, the EPA is playing lapdog and allowing this deadly herbicide to be sprayed on millions of acres without adequate impact assessment. We filed our motion so we can finally stop the cycle of more and more pesticides with less and less oversight.”

“Our federal regulators have again unlawfully bowed to the chemical industry, rather than protect our communities, land and farms,” said George Kimbrell, Center for Food Safety senior attorney and counsel in the case. “We will continue to defend them vigorously.”

“In expanding its approval for this super-toxic chemical cocktail, the EPA has shown an utter disregard for human health, our drinking water, and endangered species like the iconic whooping crane,” said Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We have no choice now but to go to court.”

“Rural communities rely on EPA to take its job seriously. But in approving Dow’s proposed use of 2,4-D, EPA has failed to protect their health, their vulnerable crops and their livelihoods,” said Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, senior scientist at Pesticide Action Network North America. “Communities across the Midwest are furious, knowing that they now face unprecedented levels of 2,4-D drift each summer.”

EPA approved Enlist Duo to address the epidemic of glyphosate-resistant super weeds that now infest tens of millions of acres of U.S. farmland as a result of overuse of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup and probable carcinogen, on crops genetically engineered to resist glyphosate’s effects. Dow Chemical has introduced 2,4-D resistant crops as a quick fix to the problem, allowing farmers to douse their fields with both 2,4-D and glyphosate to kill resistant weeds. Independent and USDA scientists, however, predict that the Enlist Duo “crop system” will only foster resistance to 2,4-D in addition to glyphosate, continuing the GE crop pesticide treadmill.

States that are now approved to use Enlist Duo on GE corn and soy crops:

  • Arkansas - NEW
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas - NEW
  • Louisiana - NEW
  • Minnesota - NEW
  • Missouri - NEW
  • Mississippi - NEW
  • Nebraska - NEW
  • North Dakota - NEW
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma - NEW
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin


Today’s motion was filed on behalf of six groups: Beyond Pesticides, the Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Environmental Working Group, the National Family Farm Coalition and Pesticide Action Network North America.  

Learn more about the Center's Environmental Health program.


Earthjustice, the nation’s premier nonprofit environmental law organization, wields the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change.
Because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Center for Food Safety, a national, nonprofit organization with over 650,000 members, was founded to protect human health and the environment by curbing the use of harmful food production technologies and by promoting organic and other forms of sustainable agriculture.
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