EPA Asks DC Circuit to Remand, Not Vacate, Aldicarb’s Registration for Florida Citrus

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asked the District of Columbia Circuit on Monday to remand a lawsuit filed against it regarding the registration of aldicarb, a pesticide, for use on citrus fruits in Florida without vacating the registration.  

The petition was filed in early March by the Farmworker Association of Florida, the Environmental Working Group, and the Center for Biological Diversity, who alleged that the pesticide is hazardous and would harm farmworker health. 

In its response to the plaintiffs’ request to vacate the registration, the EPA explained that since it acknowledged it did not do the correct Endangered Species Act analysis there is basis to remand the registration, but that vacating the conditional registration of aldicarb should not be required. The EPA said that its error “is not so serious a deficiency that vacatur is compelled,” and that it did fulfill requirements under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. 

The EPA explained that the registration is conditional and contains specific requirements to mitigate environmental and health effects from the pesticide. It addressed specific claims from the advocacy organizations, citing its research and process for the conditional registration, and said the court should deny the request. 

In addition to the EPA’s opposition, AgLogic Chemical LLC also opposed the motion for a vacatur and stay for the registration of aldicarb for use on citrus. The company, which produces Aldicarb and intervened in the lawsuit, explained its uses in preventing citrus greening and alleged that the allegations in the petition did not meet the standard for a vacator. Additionally, AgLogic said that the plaintiffs would not be irreparably harmed without a stay of the registration, and the stay is not supported when considering public interest and a balance of equities. 

“This case is not as simple or urgent as Petitioners’ suggest,” AgLogic said to support its argument against the vacatur and the stay. “To justify both extraordinary requests, Petitioners spin a tale of a reckless EPA rushing through an unacceptably dangerous and unbeneficial pesticide. But the truth is quite different. AgLogic submitted its application in 2019 at the urging of a citrus industry ravaged by pest-borne disease with no effective alternatives. Two years later, EPA fashioned with AgLogic a conditional registration of aldicarb with a dramatically limited scope and duration of potential use.” 

The EPA is represented by the Department of Justice. AgLogic is represented by Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys with the Center for Biological Diversity.