On Feb. 23, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a writ of mandamus against EPA in the U.S. Court of Appeals, DC Circuit, which would force EPA to act on their 2008 petition to ban the use of 2,4-D within 45 days of the court’s decision.

The 2008 petition asked EPA to cancel all registrations of 2,4-D and tolerances for exposure to the herbicide’s residues. The NRDC alleges that EPA is required to respond to its petition in a timely manner under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act and the Administrative Procedures Act.

2,4-D currently is under re-registration review by EPA to ensure that it meets current scientific and regulatory standards.

Dow AgroSciences also is developing a 2,4-D resistant cotton trait which may provide another tool in the battle with herbicide resistant weeds. The high sensitivity of cotton to 2,4-D has caused some concern among cotton farmers worried about the liability associated with potential drift and volatilization. However, the company has reformulated its product to reduce volatilization and is conducting field trials. Dow also has promised south Texas cotton farmers that it will develop an alternative to 2,4-D for post-harvest stalk destruction to prevent boll weevil overwintering.