Last week, a California federal appeals court issued its long-awaited decision in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) “MEGA” case. Activists first brought this suit in 2009, challenging the registrations of almost 400 pesticide active ingredients. CropLife America (CLA) and other allies joined the case then to defend the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s program, and the lower court has repeatedly ruled in our favor, reducing the activists’ claims to fewer than 50 active ingredients from the hundreds of active ingredients in the original lawsuit. The appeals court has now upheld the lower court’s most recent decision that an activist’s ability to challenge a pesticide registration based on alleged violations of the ESA is controlled by the process protections of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). This means that ESA-based challenges to pesticide registrations must generally be brought within 60 days of the registration decision and that the court’s review will be limited to what is in EPA’s records.
This decision does not end the litigation, however. The lower court must now decide whether EPA complied with the ESA when registering individual pesticide products. CLA will continue to represent industry’s interests as the litigation moves forward. Should you have any questions about the “MEGA” litigation, please contact Kristin Landis or Rachel Lattimore.