U.S. EPA approves use of Bayer weed killer for 5 years


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Brand of Bayer AG at a plant of the German pharmaceutical and chemical maker in Wuppertal

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental Safety Company will permit farmers for the following 5 years to spray crops with a Bayer AG (DE:) weed killer whose gross sales had been blocked by a U.S. appeals courtroom in June, Administrator Andrew Wheeler mentioned on Tuesday.

XtendiMax, a dicamba-based herbicide that’s sprayed on soybeans and cotton genetically engineered to withstand it, is understood to float away and injury different crops that aren’t proof against it.

“This choice features a five-year registration, offering certainty to growers as they make future buying choices,” Wheeler instructed reporters on a name.

The choice is a lift for Bayer (OTC:), which has been hammered by lawsuits over numerous chemical compounds in america since buying seed firm Monsanto (NYSE:) in 2018. It’s also an instance of the Trump administration favoring enterprise pursuits over laws per week earlier than the presidential election.

The EPA additionally permitted using BASF SE’s (DE:) Engenia herbicide and prolonged an approval for Syngenta’s Tavium.

Environmental teams have sought a ban on dicamba merchandise, arguing they hurt close by crops and wildlife.

A 3-judge panel of the ninth U.S. Circuit Courtroom of Appeals agreed this summer season and dominated the EPA considerably understated the dangers associated to using dicamba. Its ruling additionally blocked gross sales of dicamba-based herbicides like Engenia and Corteva Agriscience’s (N:) FeXapan.

The EPA’s choice invalidates the courtroom’s ruling, specialists mentioned.

“Moderately than evaluating the numerous prices of dicamba drift because the ninth Circuit instructed them the legislation required, EPA rushed re-approval as a political prop simply earlier than the election,” mentioned George Kimbrell, authorized director on the Heart for Meals Security.

About 60% of the U.S. soybean crop this yr was estimated to be seeded with Bayer’s dicamba-resistant Xtend soybeans, based on Bayer. They should be sprayed with the herbicide to thrust back weeds which have developed a tolerance for one more chemical, glyphosate.

The EPA mentioned it might impose a June 30 deadline for farmers to spray dicamba on soybeans and a July 30 deadline for its use on cotton.

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