What is in this article?:
- Senate Ag Committee hears testimony about fallout of atrazine-related suits.
- Atrazine being looked at again by EPA.
- Lawsuits targeting the product also reel in farm groups.
During your Senate testimony … you said there had been some warning shots, or alarming things that have occurred, with your groups and others regarding some lawyers and potential class-action suits they’re pushing. Can you talk about that and how it morphed into an actual subpoena for you?
“In their scientific reviews, there are certain points in time when the EPA occasionally makes decisions. Sometimes you think they never make a decision. But occasionally they do.
“In 2003, the EPA issued what they called an ‘interim registration eligibility decision.’ That set the peg in the ground that their scientific review indicated there was reasonable certainty of no harm to continue the registration of atrazine.
“There were some caveats with different monitoring projects and the like. But, basically, there weren’t a lot of substantial label changes for farmers. … Clearly, in 2003, the agency tipped their hand in the direction they would go: to re-register atrazine with a majority of its uses.
“That was finalized in April of 2006. But as far back as 2003, the science looked good and the EPA had worked through some challenges and we were set to go.
“However, in 2004, lawyers filed a suit in Madison County, Ill., for the Holiday Shores Sanitary District. It’s a local water supplier.
“The basis of the lawsuit is that even though they don’t have to treat for atrazine today, they don’t have any incoming water that requires treatment for atrazine, they’re trying to make the case that the EPA standard isn’t good enough. They want to collect for costs and damages, if you will, for the incidental, extremely small amounts of atrazine that may flow into their system. That’s even though they don’t treat for atrazine.
“It’s the activists’ way of saying, ‘We’ll take a run at the courts to do what we couldn’t do through the science and EPA.’