EPA asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the agency's registration of two neonicotinoid insecticides, arguing that the claims lack merit and should be thrown out on jurisdictional grounds.

In March, five environmental groups and several commercial beekeepers filed suit in the US District Court for the Northern District of California seeking an injunction that would bar continued use of clothianidin and thiamethoxam based on their impacts on honey bees. The suit makes 14 claims that the EPA violated laws that should have prevented the registration of the two pesticides. The suit cites violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. The suit also alleges that the EPA failed to adequately respond to a petition the plaintiffs filed in March 2012 that asked the agency to suspend its approval of clothianidin.

EPA is arguing that the suit essentially fails to identify specific complaints worthy of review by the court. In its motion to dismiss the suit, EPA says that the claims concerning its response to the petition are baseless because the agency has yet to issue a final response. EPA denied the portion of the petition requesting immediate suspension of clothianidin registrations but has yet to respond to the other issues raised, including the legality of the registrations and its alleged failure to consult with federal wildlife agencies regarding the potential impacts to endangered species.

The agency further argues that the remaining claims which largely relate to alleged failures to follow proper FIFRA registration and labeling procedures either fail to state a claim that can be remedied by the court or should be dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. The plaintiffs are expected to file their response to the motion next month.

 

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