AUSTIN — Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller has formally requested a Section 18 exemption from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow the continued use of dicamba in Texas under emergency conditions despite last week’s ruling against dicamba from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
“The Texas cotton crop is going in the ground right now and our cotton growers must have certainty,” said Miller. “I am not about to let a ruling by some court in California devastate the Texas cotton industry. Cotton is still king in Texas, no matter what the Ninth Circuit says.”
Immediately after last week’s ruling, Commissioner Miller made it clear that dicamba was still available for use in Texas and asked EPA to allow Texas cotton growers to continue to use existing stocks of the herbicide that had already been purchased. The EPA agreed and on Monday announced that growers would be allowed to continue to use existing stocks for a limited amount of time.
In addition to the “existing stocks” order, Miller is asking for an Emergency Exemption under Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) which would authorize EPA to allow unregistered uses of pesticides to address emergency conditions. Under such an “Section 18” exemption, EPA allows limited use of the pesticide in defined geographic areas for a finite period of time once EPA confirms that the situation meets that statutory definition of “emergency condition.”
Miller maintains the Ninth Circuit’s ruling has created such an emergency condition. Without the popular dicamba herbicide, Texas cotton could be at risk.
The EPA cancellation order can be found on the EPA website here.
–Texas Department of Agriculture
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