WILMINGTON, Del.—Agrichemical giant Corteva announced last week it was dropping efforts to have the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approve its new choline version of the plant-killing pesticide dicamba. Since 2017, other versions of dicamba applied to genetically engineered (GE), dicamba-resistant soy and cotton have drifted rampantly, damaging millions of acres of soybeans, vegetables, orchards, and other "non-target" crops.
In June 2020, a federal appeals court prohibited the spraying of dicamba on GE crops, in response to a lawsuit brought by farming and environmental groups led by Center for Food Safety (CFS). The Court ruled that EPA had failed to estimate the "enormous and unprecedented damage" caused by dicamba drift, which triggered strife that "has torn apart the social fabric of many farming communities." Just a few months later, Trump's EPA re-approved the dicamba products, made by Bayer and BASF. CFS and allies are back in court challenging this unlawful decision. Press reports suggest Biden's EPA will allow continued use of dicamba for at least a year, permitting a fifth year of devastating drift damage.
In another landmark lawsuit against Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) and BASF, Missouri farmer Bill Bader was awarded $75 million for dicamba drift damage that devastated his peach orchard.
In response to this news, Center for Food Safety's Science Director Bill Freese issued the following statement:
"If even an agrichemical giant like Corteva is dropping dicamba to avoid liability from the enormous, widely-documented drift damage it causes, what will it take for the Biden Administration to end the use of these hazardous products on America's croplands for good?"