Parties Extend Stay in Lawsuit Regarding EPA’s Pesticide Rule

On Wednesday, the parties in a Southern District of New York lawsuit challenging an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule regarding pesticide regulations proposed a stipulation to extend the injunction and stay on the rule, entitled “Pesticides—Agricultural Worker Protection Standard: Revision of the Application Exclusion Zone Requirements” through April 19, 2021. 

The plaintiffs, which include New York, California, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, and various farmworker advocacy organizations, argued in December that the rule would increase the risk of farmers being exposed to pesticides because it eliminated requirements for workers to not be near pesticide equipment in areas where pesticides are being applied. The complaint purported that the EPA’s rule violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). 

After the court granted the plaintiffs a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, the EPA asked the court for an extension of the order to give the defendant time to address an error in the new rule.

The rule claimed that EPA-approved trainings since 2018 included information about applying pesticides near buildings and preventing contact with pesticides while applying them, however, the EPA became aware that some trainings did not have the information. The EPA asked for an extension to determine if the error would require a change in the rule. 

In Wednesday’s filing, the parties agreed to stay the proceedings for an additional two months, and the EPA agreed to provide an update by April 12, 2021. The stipulation was signed by Judge Lewis J. Liman. 

The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys for Earthjustice and Farmworker Justice, along with state attorneys general.