Court tosses EPA ban on pesticide linked to brain damage in kids

A federal appeals court on Thursday is tossing the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ban on a pesticide that has been linked to brain damage in children.

The decision from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to send the rule back to the agency does not preclude the agency from reinstating the ban in the future.

But it said the EPA needs to give greater consideration to whether there are cases where the pesticide, called chlorpyrifos, could be used safely.

Chlorpyrifos has been used as an insecticide, protecting crops like soybeans, broccoli, cauliflower and fruit trees.

The EPA banned chlorpyrifos for use in growing food in 2021. That came after a prior court ruling gave the agency just 60 days to either find a safe use for chlorpyrifos or ban it outright.

The appeals court determined that this deadline contributed to a rushed decision from EPA that was ultimately “arbitrary and capricious.”

The ruling comes from Judges Lavenski Smith, Raymond Gruender and ​​David Stras, two of whom were appointed by former President George W. Bush and one of whom was appointed by former President Trump.

The chlorpyrifos issue has ping-ponged between administrations. The Obama administration had proposed to ban its use on food, but the Trump administration reversed course and had proposed to allow some uses of the chemical.

The court’s decision was met with some Republican cheers, including from Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), who called it a “victory for our farmers” in a written statement.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.