On December 7, 2015, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Case Nos. 14-73353, et al. (consolidated) Intervenor Dow AgroSciences, LLC (DowAgro) filed a response, and Petitioner the Center for Food Safety, et al. (CFS, et al.) filed joinder in and response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) motion for voluntary vacatur and remand of EPA’s registration of DowAgro’s Enlist Duo herbicide under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), as well as a response to DowAgro’s Fact Sheet, a public statement made by DowAgro after EPA’s motion was filed.
DowAgro’s response calls EPA’s motion a “Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” motion. The request for remand, DowAgro states, is “uncontroversial” and will allow the agency to review the new information that may bear on the pesticide registration. DowAgro thus does not object to the remand and believes ultimately that “the new information cited by respondents has no impact on the validity of the existing registration.”
On the other hand, DowAgro argues that EPA’s request to vacate the registration is “novel and unlawful.” DowAgro states that EPA is trying to “short-circuit [the FIFRA] regulatory scheme and abdicate the responsibilities Congress assigned to the agency.” Specifically, DowAgro argues this case is “closely analogous” to the Reckitt Benckiser case (762 F. Supp. 2d 34 (D.D.C. 2011), where the court did not allow EPA to circumvent the statutory cancellation regime, finding that FIFRA Section 6 “establishes a detailed, multistep process that EPA must follow when it wants to cancel or suspend a registration.” Id. at 42 (emphasis in original). DowAgro states that the court must “limit its relief to a remand for the agency to exercise primary jurisdiction to review the new information and decide what additional steps, if any, are warranted.” While EPA reviews the additional information, DowAgro has agreed to “stop sales of Enlist Duo, and to work out an appropriate agreement to that effect with the agency.”
CFS, et al.’s filing asserts that vacatur is the appropriate remedy. CFS, et al. states that EPA now “has an opportunity -- a mandate -- to meet its duties under FIFRA and the ESA, and ensure Enlist Duo’s safety.” CFS, et al. “not only agree, but believe EPA greatly downplays the potential for harm by focusing only on the buffers and terrestrial plants,” and states that the “potential for harm far outweighs any likely economic disruption to Intervenor Dow.”
The outcome of the issue raised by EPA’s motion, and DowAgro’s position that EPA should not be permitted to “bypass” regulatory cancellation procedures is of significant interest to all pesticide registrants. This case will be closely watched not only because Enlist Duo is a major new product for Dow and a new tool in the herbicide-tolerant crop world, but also because of the potentially precedential process that EPA’s motion seeks with regard to pesticide registrations.
More information on EPA’s motion is available in our blog entry EPA Files Motion for Voluntary Vacatur and Remand of Enlist Duo Registration.