Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, April 17, 2019

Contact:  Nathan Donley, Center for Biological Diversity, (971) 717-6406, ndonley@biologicaldiversity.org
Bill Freese, Center for Food Safety, (814) 753-2895, bfreese@centerforfoodsafety.org

Trump's EPA Urged to Reject Expansion of Dangerous Pesticide Dicamba to Millions of Acres of Corn

WASHINGTON— Thirty groups representing farmers, farmworkers, rural communities, public-safety workers and environmental advocates today urged the Environmental Protection Agency to deny Monsanto’s request to allow the spraying of the highly drift-prone pesticide dicamba on up to 80 million acres of corn.

The organizations submitted comments to the EPA in response to Monsanto’s application, which seeks to more than double the area where dicamba can be sprayed. If the request is approved, the dangerous pesticide’s use will expand from 60 million acres of fields in 2019 to an estimated 140 million acres.

Over the past three years, spray and vapor drift from dicamba sprayed on Monsanto’s genetically engineered cotton and soy has damaged an estimated 5 million acres of crops, trees, vegetable farms, backyard gardens and flowering plants. The scale of the drift damage from dicamba is unprecedented in the history of agriculture, according to researchers.

“The dangerous, uncontrollable poison is so thick in the air in some towns in America’s heartland that the trees lining Main Street are suddenly dying,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s grossly immoral that Monsanto’s new owners want to risk expanding dicamba’s devastation.”

The EPA enabled the drift problem by approving use of dicamba on soybeans and cotton genetically engineered to survive its effects. The new application seeks EPA approval of expanded use on Monsanto’s genetically engineered dicamba-resistant corn. It also aims to raise the legally permissible levels of the pesticide’s residues in corn fodder.

“EPA’s reckless dicamba approvals have not only resulted in enormous crop damage, putting farmers’ livelihoods at risk — they’ve also generated considerable strife in farming communities, making enemies of once friendly neighbors,” said Bill Freese, science policy analyst at Center for Food Safety. “EPA should reject Monsanto’s bid to inflict still more harm on rural America through dicamba use on GE corn, and reverse its existing approvals for application to GE soybeans and cotton.”

In addition to the damage that dicamba has caused to crops, trees and backyard gardens in rural communities, there is increased concern about its harm to pollinators and insects that rely on diverse plant communities in agricultural regions.   

The Center for Food Safety, Center for Biological Diversity and other farm and environmental groups are suing the EPA over the agency’s approval of Monsanto’s dicamba formulation, XtendiMax, for use on the company’s genetically engineered crops. The groups contend the approvals violate both federal pesticide law and the Endangered Species Act.

The Trump administration recently issued the final approval for the acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer AG.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with over 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Center for Food Safety’s mission is to empower people, support farmers, and protect the earth from the harmful impacts of industrial agriculture. Through groundbreaking legal, scientific, and grassroots action, we protect and promote your right to safe food and the environment. Please join our more than 900,000 consumer and farmer advocates across the country at www.centerforfoodsafety.org. Twitter: @CFSTrueFood@CFS_Press

www.biologicaldiversity.org

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