Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General

Dem States Challenge EPA Over Pesticide Decision

June 8, 2017

As published by The Hill, on June 6, 2017.

Seven states controlled by Democratic administrations are formally challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision not to further restrict the use of the controversial pesticide chlorpyrifos.

The states’ attorneys general, led by New York’s Eric Schneiderman (D), filed an administrative challenge on Tuesday. The states could file a lawsuit in court if their initial challenge is not successful.

The states say that the Trump administration violated federal law regarding pesticides, because scientific studies show chlorpyrifos is harmful to the nervous systems and brains of young children.

“The EPA’s first job is ensuring the health and safety of New Yorkers and all Americans — especially our children. Yet the Trump administration is jeopardizing our children’s health by allowing continued exposure to this toxic pesticide at levels it has not found to be safe,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

“If the Trump Administration won’t follow the law — and put our children’s well-being first — we will fight back.”

Schneiderman was joined by the attorneys general of California, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Washington and Vermont.

EPA head Scott Pruitt in March rejected the Obama administration’s proposal to ban the agricultural use of the pesticide on plants like strawberries, wheat and corn. Agricultural interests strongly support Pruitt’s decision, saying chlorpyrifos is a widely used pesticide and the scientific studies used by the Obama administration were not sound.

Dow Chemical Co., which sells the pesticide under the brand name Lorsban, also supported Pruitt’s decision.

Earthjustice, the Pesticide Action Network and the Natural Resources Defense Council are also challenging the decision. They had ongoing litigation regarding the pesticide in the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, and asked the court to formally review the EPA’s decision.

The chlorpyrifos challenge is just the latest of numerous legal moves by Schneiderman and other Democratic attorneys general against the Trump administration on the environment and immigration.