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Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Rules EPA Must Ban Chlorpyrifos Within 60 Days

A big win for environmentalists.
chlorpyrifos, EPA, scott pruitt, ninth court of appeals, chlorpyrifos ban

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks after U.S. President Donald Trump announced his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement in the Rose Garden at the White House June 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump pledged on the campaign trail to withdraw from the accord, which former President Barack Obama and the leaders of 194 other countries signed in 2015. The agreement is intended to encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to limit global warming to a manageable level. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to ban a pesticide called chlorpyrifos, which has been linked to brain damage in children.

New York’s Attorney General Barbara Underwood praised the ruling in a Twitter post, calling it a “major court victory.” The ban was initially recommended by E.P.A scientists under President Barack Obama, whose administration fought diligently for pro-environmental policies.

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In March 2017, Pruitt rejected the findings of the E.P.A.’s own scientists, who in 2016 found that children and infants who had been exposed to chlorpyrifos when used as an insecticide in their homes had “measurable volumetric changes in the cerebral cortex.”

In its 2-1 decision, the three-judge panel gave the E.P.A. two months to implement the ban.

Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York authored the majority opinion, stating that the EPA violated the law saying 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.”

The ruling strikes a significant blow to President Donald Trump and former E.P.A. Administrator Scott Pruitt, who resigned last month amid a mountain of growing scandals.

The E.P.A. has not publicly shared how it plans on responding to the ruling.

“E.P.A. is reviewing the decision,” said Michael Abboud, an agency spokesman. “The Columbia center’s data underlying the court’s assumptions remains inaccessible and has hindered the agency’s ongoing process to fully evaluate the pesticide using the best available, transparent science.”

The court said that in his refusal to ban chlorpyrifos, Pruitt violated the law.

Twitter thinks Pruitt should be held accountable.

“The panel held that there was no justification for the EPA’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,” Appeals Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff wrote in the majority decision.

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