Environment

Court Orders the EPA to Ban a Brain-Damaging Chemical

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt is back in Oklahoma doing whatever it is people in Oklahoma do, but his legacy lives on.

You may recall that Pruitt ignored the advice of federal scientists and health officials early last year when he approved the use of the pesticide Chlorpyrifos, which has been credibly linked to brain damage in children.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has now ordered the EPA to ban the chemical within the next two months because, in the court's word, former administrator Scott Pruitt never justified its approval.

In March 2017, just a month after he was confirmed as the agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt rejected a petition by the health and environmental groups to ban the pesticide. He did so even though the agency’s own staff scientists had recommended that chlorpyrifos be removed from the market, based on health studies that had suggested it was harming children, particularly among farmworker families. [...]

The court ruled that there was “no justification for the E.P.A.’s decision in its 2017 order to maintain a tolerance for chlorpyrifos in the face of scientific evidence that its residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children,” referring to the formal agency process of banning a pesticide.

It's anyone's guess if the Trump regime will try to appeal this ruling to the Supreme Court, but I'm slightly skeptical that they will. And even if they do, there's no guarantee the Supreme Court will agree to hear the case.

The government arguing that the chemical should be approved when government scientists say it should be banned is something of a problem that's not easily hand-waved in court.

Putting the cart before the horse by announcing regulatory decisions before studying or justifying them has led to several defeats for the Trump regime.

  • Draxiar

    I hope Pruitt is directly and personally affect by all the damage he’s foisted upon the general population. In other words, I hope he drowns in his own approved carcinogens.

  • Christopher Foxx

    The government arguing that the chemical should be approved when government scientists say it should be banned is …

    … simply how the Trump administration operates.

    “Tell us what we should do. OK we’ll do the opposite of that. Now, what shouldn’t we do. Yeah, that’s our new policy.”

    It’s the “if Democrat or science is in favor of it, we’re opposed to it” approach. It’s how they thing you show leadership.

  • muselet

    Chlorpyrifos is, bluntly, evil stuff.

    The WHO lists it as “moderately hazardous,” which seems to understate the hazards by quite a bit. To my eye (inexpert but jaundiced though it may be), chlorpyrifos isn’t even particularly necessary.

    Luckily, Scott Pruitt didn’t much care for niceties like scientific and legal justifications for decisions. Unluckily, Andrew Wheeler (Acting Administrator) is much more methodical in his efforts to dismantle the EPA.

    Expect more nonsensical decisions out of the EPA in the next two-and-a-half years.

    –alopecia

  • ninjaf

    This kind of stuff makes me frightened of the courts we’re going to have for the next 30-40 years because Trump gets to nominate a record number of judges, thanks to McConnell’s successful power grab.

  • Aynwrong

    Once again, saved by incompetence. MAGA?