League of United Latin American Citizens v. Wheeler
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
899 F.3d 814 (2018)
For approximately 20 years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (defendant) documented evidence that the pesticide chlorpyrifos caused neurodevelopmental damage in children and infants. The EPA had issued a tolerance for chlorpyrifos under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), which allowed food with chlorpyrifos residue to be sold. In 1998, the EPA had revoked the tolerance for chlorpyrifos as to residential use and required mitigation for commercial-farming use, citing health risks. In 2007, a petition was filed for the EPA to revoke all chlorpyrifos tolerances. The EPA did not timely respond to the petition. In 2015, the EPA issued a proposed rule to ban chlorpyrifos. In 2016, an EPA risk assessment found chlorpyrifos exposure violated the safety standards of FFDCA. However, in 2017, the EPA denied the 2007 petition to void the chlorpyrifos tolerance, reasoning the science on chlorpyrifos effects was unresolved, and stated it would review the tolerance again in 2022 when it reviewed chlorpyrifos for continued pesticide registration under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The League of United Latin American Citizens (League) (plaintiff) filed objections to the 2017 order, to which the EPA did not respond, and then filed a petition for review seeking to vacate all chlorpyrifos tolerances, arguing the tolerances violated FFDCA requirements by ignoring evidence of the harm caused by chlorpyrifos exposure. The EPA did not dispute the merits of the claim but challenged the court’s jurisdiction.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Rakoff, J.)
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