States join lawsuit over EPA pesticide decision

States join lawsuit over EPA pesticide decision
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Five states and the District of Columbia have joined a lawsuit over the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) March decision not to ban a controversial pesticide.

In a court filing Thursday, the states said the EPA has a responsibility to ban the use of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide linked to health problems in humans that is used to kill insects and pests on crops.

Several groups sued over the decision in June, asking a federal court to force the EPA to take action on the pesticide. The states, led by New York, joined that suit Thursday and also filed a legal complaint of their own directly with the EPA.

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“Job Number One for the EPA should be protecting Americans’ well-being, especially that of our children,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D), who is leading the states' action.

“Yet the administration is jeopardizing our kids’ health, allowing the use of a toxic pesticide for which it can’t even identify a safe level.”

The other states joining the motion are Maryland, Massachusetts, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia. Together, they allege the EPA did not make a safety finding before continuing to allow the use of chlorpyrifos.

A federal court in 2015 directed the EPA to finalize its proposed rule that would have banned the pesticide.

The EPA proposed doing so in 2016, but in March, new EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Trump adviser affirms intent to leave Paris deal | Officials report leaks at Superfund site after Harvey | Hurricane Maria now a major storm Overnight Regulation: Trump adviser affirms plans to leave climate deal | FDA to study new cigarette warning labels | DOJ investigating Equifax stock sales Officials report potential spills at Texas Superfund site after Harvey: report MORE said the agency would drop that issue, saying, “we need to provide regulatory certainty to the thousands of American farms that rely on chlorpyrifos, while still protecting human health and the environment.”

Chemical manufacturers like Dow and some agricultural groups had pushed the EPA not to ban the pesticide.