(Reuters) - A divided federal appeals court on Thursday ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ban a widely-used pesticide that critics say can harm children and farmers.
The 2-1 decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle overturned former EPA commissioner Scott Pruitt’s March 2017 denial of a petition by environmental groups to ban the use of chlorpyrifos on food crops such as fruits, vegetables and nuts.
“This shows that the EPA can’t just ignore the science that this pesticide damages children’s brains,” Marisa Ordonia, a lawyer for Earthjustice, which represented the petitioners, said in an interview. “The Trump administration has to follow the law, as does everyone else.”
Pruitt’s ruling, one of many by the administration to reduce federal regulatory oversight, had reversed a 2015 Obama administration recommendation to extend to food a 2000 ban on chlorpyrifos that covered most household settings.
Writing for the Seattle-based appeals court, Judge Jed Rakoff directed the EPA to ban chlorpyrifos within 60 days, saying the agency failed to counteract “scientific evidence that its residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children.”
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