By Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter
OMAHA (DTN) — The lead attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity Monday said he’s unsure whether a settlement will be reached in the group’s lawsuit against the EPA that could affect the usage of nearly all pesticides.
The CBD, Crop Life America, American Farm Bureau Federation and others received a requested 60-day extension Monday on a court deadline in an ongoing settlement in an Endangered Species Act lawsuit against EPA, according to CBD’s attorney Justin Augustine.
There still is some question as to whether a settlement can be reached by the new Oct. 14 deadline, he said.
“All the parties jointly asked for the extension and it was approved by the court today,” Augustine said. “The extension gives the parties more time to discuss whether we can reach a settlement or not. Come October, we will see where we are in terms of a settlement and go from there. It’s premature to say anything else.”
On Jan. 20, the CBD and other environmental groups filed a suit that alleged EPA violated the ESA by not consulting federal wildlife officials about the potential effects that some 300 registered pesticides and other agricultural chemicals would have on about 200 species, before approving the use of those chemicals.
As a result of a ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, all parties involved in the settlement will now have until Oct. 14 for the next status conference in the negotiations, moving it back from Aug. 12.
Danielle Quist, senior counsel for public policy at the American Farm Bureau Federation, said she’s not at liberty to discuss ongoing negotiations.
“In the request for an extension you can see it says we have had an exchange of frameworks,” she said. “So you can see we need more time. I’m always really kind of tight-lipped on these things.”
In the request made to the court the parties indicated that they continue to hammer out details.
“The parties are committed to further pursuing case settlement discussions and are in the process of arranging the next meeting,” the request said, “as well as establishing a schedule of meetings to ensure full discussion of all elements of the potential settlement. The parties are also discussing the potential for a settlement that could resolve all of plaintiffs’ claims and requests for relief.”
Ag groups and other interveners in the case have expressed concern that if the case is allowed to move forward without their input, many agricultural chemicals could be removed from the market while EPA is required to reconsider their effects on endangered species.
Crop Life America has said the potentially affected species are located in agricultural areas in every state except for Alaska, and initial estimates are that as many as 30,000 product-species combinations would be evaluated if the lawsuit is successful.
On June 3, 2011, the court held an intervention hearing and granted in part and denied in part motions from Crop Life, American Farm Bureau Federation and American Chemistry Council.
In its earlier motion to intervene, Crop Life, which represents the crop chemical industry, said it believed its interests would not be represented in the settlement negotiations.
On June 21 all parties met in Washington, D.C., and discussed the possibility of settlement. According to court records an additional meeting was held by phone on July 18.
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Posted with DTN Permission by Haylie Shipp