As the state of California attempts to implement a policy that would cause massive damage to American farmers, a national agriculture coalition went to court with a request: halt California’s extreme action until the judge can consider all of the facts. At issue is California’s Prop 65 listing of glyphosate, one of modern agriculture’s most valuable tools and an industry standard across the world.
The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known by its original name of Proposition 65, requires the State of California to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. The list must be updated at least once a year and has grown to include approximately 800 chemicals.
Proposition 65 requires businesses to notify Californians about significant amounts of chemicals in the products they purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment. Proposition 65 also prohibits California businesses from knowingly discharging significant amounts of listed chemicals into sources of drinking water. Proposition 65 is administered by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) in the California Environmental Protection Agency and evaluates all currently available scientific information on substances considered for placement on the Proposition 65 list.
Despite scientific findings from hundreds of studies and conclusions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and regulatory agencies around the world that glyphosate is safe for use, California added glyphosate to the state’s Prop 65 list.
“While farmers are readying our fields and making plans to put seeds in the ground, California is engaging in aggressive legal wrangling, placing us at risk to crippling liability for using a product that hundreds of studies and the U.S. EPA say is safe for use,” said Gordon Stoner, President of the National Association of Wheat Growers. “We intend to make clear in this hearing that agriculture is under attack and implementation of this erroneous Prop 65 listing for glyphosate should be halted until there is a final ruling from the judge.”
Today, the agriculture coalition is arguing their the case for a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, which would halt the implementation of the Prop 65 listing until a final ruling is decided by the court.
The National Association of Wheat Growers is the lead plaintiff in the case against California filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. The plaintiffs include the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, the Agricultural Retailers Association, Associated Industries of Missouri, Iowa Soybean Association, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, CropLife America, Missouri Farm Bureau, National Corn Growers Association, North Dakota Grain Growers Association, South Dakota Agri-Business Association and United States Durum Growers Association. In December, the group filed a temporary injunction asking the court to halt the regulation.