by: Arun, Kaushal Kumar, Sudhit Rao
Recently, the federal appeals court passed a decree that prohibits the use of a popular herbicide, Isoxaflutole manufactured by German agricultural giant, BASF. The reason for this ruling is due to their propensity for killing the incorrect crops. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) refused to abide by this order and has prevented the future sales of the product but they have given permission to farmers to use their entire existing stock.
Isoxaflutole is a herbicide specifically used for crops like soybean and corn. Its popularity comes from the fact that it is able to kill weeds and other unwanted plants that are resistant, or have become resistant to other more common, and less powerful herbicides. Its strength, however, does not come without a downside. Isoxaflutole has been linked to cause liver damage and cancer in humans who have been exposed to it. Its danger to people and the fact that it was drift hundreds of feet from where it is meant to be applied makes it a very dangerous chemical to use on crops of any kind.
This action by the EPA is just another that seems to prioritize the interests of large corporations over the safety of the public. The choice to not follow the court orders is directly beneficial to the agricultural companies that make the herbicide, even though the chemical has been proven to be harmful to those who come in contact with it. However, this is not the only move that the EPA has made in favor of industry giants. Only a couple weeks ago the EPA took steps to roll back all methane pollution regulations, to help support the fossil fuel industry. Throughout the Trump Administration’s time in power, the EPA has made many decisions that negatively affect the environment but still benefit corporations.
The decision comes as a shock to the general public as the Trump Administration has disregarded the court of law in their decision. They have permitted farmers to continually use the herbicide, making the public furious as they violate due process. The EPA cites that the herbicide is a “valuable pest control tool,” and doesn’t deem it crucial to ban the use of. However, the repercussions seem to outweigh the usage, as there are other alternatives that can warrant the ban of this herbicide. What’s more, by disobeying the court of law, the EPA shows that their agenda can be prioritized without due process.
The move to partially defy a court of law is one that has citizens scratching their heads. The decision to allow the use of the herbicide has been finalized, but only time will tell the repercussions of this decision and the impact it will have on crops and the climate as a whole.