As expected, the EPA has failed to ban dicamba, the deadliest herbicide of all.
The industry enforcer, Environmental Protection Agency, announced that it will only put minor new restrictions on the pesticide dicamba, which has damaged an estimated 5 million acres of adjoining crops, trees and backyard gardens over the past two years. The massively destructive pesticide is approved for another two years of despite irrefutible evidence that it should be banned.
“The Trump EPA’s reckless re-approval of this dangerous poison ignores the facts on the ground and damage across millions of acres,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Simply adding more use restrictions to an uncontrollable pesticide that already comes with 39 pages of instructions and limitations reflects a broken process. Pesticide regulation has been hijacked by pesticide makers.”
The new restrictions tied to the re-approval include a mere 57-foot buffer around fields where endangered species may be present and limitations on what times during the day the pesticide can be sprayed. However, dicamba can drift for miles and the runoff spreads throughout watersheds.
After the state of Arkansas temporarily banned dicamba last year, the EPA introduced additional restrictions, vetted and approved by Monsanto, that it hoped would prevent off-target damage and more states imposing bans. As predicted by independent researchers, those new restrictions were largely ineffective, resulting in unintended damage to millions acres of crops, vegetables, ornamental species and trees.
“How many more millions of acres need to be poisoned for the EPA to stand up and finally do its job?” said Donley. “It’s going to take far stronger action to curb dicamba’s well-documented dangers to non-target plants and wildlife like monarch butterflies.”
Highly toxic dicamba products are designed for use primarily on soybeans genetically engineered to resist what would normally be a fatal dose of the pesticide. The current label for new dicamba products, which lays out the restrictions and directions for the pesticide’s use, takes up 39 pages and more than 16,000 words.
Dicamba is only being used because farmers have been brainwashed into believing that they must spray weeds instead of till. They can no longer use the previous herbicide, glyphosate, because it has created so many super-weeds and no longer works.
The EPA’s own analysis of dicamba indicated that many threatened and endangered species — including birds and mammals — may be harmed by the massive increase in the herbicide’s use. Yet the agency illegally decided to ignore these harms instead of consulting with federal wildlife experts as required by law.
Earlier this year a Center report found that more than 60 million acres of Monarch butterfly habitat are projected to be sprayed with dicamba by next year. Dicamba destroys Monarch habitat in two ways: by harming flowering plants that provide nectar for adults as they travel south for the winter and by harming milkweed, which, as the only food of Monarch caterpillars, is essential for the butterfly’s reproduction.
Monarch butterfly populations have decimated by pesticides and herbicides, and the also corrupt U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service claims that it is currently considering whether to give Endangered Species Act protections to the iconic migratory butterfly. However, Trump and his cohorts are trying to kill the U.S. endangered species act and have suppressed its enforcement.