Lawsuit says EPA failed to study insecticide's impact on threatened species

An empty podium awaits at the EPA in Washington, D.C. REUTERS/Ting Shen
  • Plaintiffs say agency ignored prior court order to study effects of cyantraniliprole
  • 2017 ruling ordered EPA to probe effects on species under Endangered Species Act

(Reuters) - Environmentalists and food safety advocates on Tuesday urged a Washington, D.C., federal appeals court to compel the Environmental Protection Agency to obey an earlier order that it study the effects of a pesticide on imperiled species, or else restrict the chemical's use.

The Center for Food Safety and the Center for Biological Diversity allege that the EPA has failed to comply with a 2017 ruling by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ordering the agency to determine how the insecticide cyantraniliprole, which the agency approved in 2014, affects protected species.

Cyantraniliprole, or CTP, is used to combat certain pests including those that damage citrus crops.

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It is registered under brand names including Benevia and Ference produced by companies FMC Corp and Syngenta Crop Protection, according to the EPA's website. An FMC spokesperson declined to comment. Syngenta did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Neither did the EPA.

The plaintiffs say the agency has previously found CTP can be toxic to some invertebrates and fish.

They prevailed in a lawsuit challenging CTP's registration in June 2017. In that case, the appellate court ruled that the EPA had violated the Endangered Species Act by registering the insecticide before determining its effects on protected species. It ordered the agency to do so while keeping the pesticide's registration in effect.

Tuesday's complaint says the EPA has failed to comply, "effectively nullifying" the order.

The case is In Re Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Food Safety, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, No. N/A.

For Center for Biological Diversity, et al: Stephanie Parent and Jonathan Evans of the Center for Biological Diversity

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New York-based correspondent covering environmental, climate and energy litigation.