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EPA wants to rethink new herbicide

(MINNEAPOLIS) STAR TRIBUNE – 12 DECEMBER 2015

EPA now wants to restudy long-awaited killer of “superweeeds.” 

AskMeWhySomething unusual happened a couple of days before Thanksgiving.

Federal environment officials filed court documents to pull the plug on a new herbicide combination that they had approved just a year ago and had been distributed on a trial basis to some Minnesota farms. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had studied the product, Enlist Duo, for several years before registering it, so the agency’s sudden change of heart came as a surprise to many.

Dow AgroSciences created the herbicide and promoted it as a long-awaited solution for farmers battling herbicide-resistant “superweeds.” The EPA now wants to cancel the herbicide’s registration and study it again because the mixture could be more toxic than earlier believed, especially to endangered plants.

But Dow, in court documents filed last week, said not so fast. The agency can review the product, the company contends, but EPA has no right to cancel the registration without due process. Dow is telling customers that it still expects Enlist Duo to be available for the 2016 growing season.

Watching the case closely are environmentalists who oppose the registration and other chemical companies with similar herbicides under development.

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