EPA Issues Cancellation Order for Three Dicamba Products, Allowing Use through July

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Final Cancellation Order for Xtendimax with Vaporgrip Technology, Engenia, and FeXapan, three pesticide products containing dicamba as an active ingredient. This comes after the Ninth Circuit Court ruled in favor of organizations that asked for a review of the 2018 EPA decision to allow a temporary registration for the products.

The EPA said the products are no longer considered registered, prohibiting sale of product stocks except to facilitate returns or disposal. Existing stocks are allowed to be used through July 31, 2020. The order gives instructions of an “orderly wind-down” of the products, including returning them to the registrant or disposal according to pesticide laws.

“Distributors and end-users may have possession of stocks of a pesticide product purchased in good faith after EPA issued a registration permitting distribution of the product in commerce and establishing conditions pertaining to the use of the product. The issuance of a cancellation order allows the Agency to appropriately regulate distribution and use of those stocks,” the order stated. It explains that the stocks have the potential to cause adverse effects to health and the environment and EPA regulations should be followed in the disposal of the products.

The EPA said, without any enforceable orders there is not a provision in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to stop the use of pesticides whose registration has been canceled; the laws only apply to registered products.

“The uses authorized by the Xtendimax, Engenia, and FeXapan registrations include many uses other than post-emergent use on dicamba-resistant soybeans and cotton,” the cancellation order stated. “Those uses do not present the same risks as the uses that were the basis for the Court’s decision. These products continue to offer valuable benefits to users for these other previously-approved uses, and allowing these non-over-the-top uses provides substantially greater benefits to users and to society than disposal.”

The Center for Food Safety, which was involved in the court case against the EPA’s dicamba decision, said the order “flies in the face” of the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision. “It ignores the well-documented and overwhelming evidence of substantial drift harm to farmers from another disastrous spraying season. It ignores the risks to hundreds of endangered species. It ignores the comprehensive analysis by the Court of these harms. It raises the same arguments in favor of continued use that the Court has already rejected,” the Center for Food Safety said in a statement.

The order from the EPA says it received letters explaining how detrimental the court decision could be to farmers who have planted their crops if they are not able to use the dicamba products, including the American Farm Bureau Federation who said not using the products would expose farmers to “potentially billions of dollars in noxious weed damage.” Many farmers have purchased the products and made planting decisions to accommodate the dicamba products. “Without these products, not only are these substantial investments at risk, but farmers do not know how they will protect their crops,” the American Farm Bureau Federation said.

Earlier the EPA expressed disappointment with the Ninth Circuit Court decision on June 3 vacating the registrations for the products.