epa suit .pdf

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Title: UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
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Case: 14-71514

10/03/2014

ID: 9265143

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NO. 14-71514
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT

PESTICIDE ACTION NETWORK NORTH AMERICA; UNITED FARM
WORKERS; and PINEROS Y CAMPESINOS UNIDOS DEL NOROESTE,
Petitioners,
v.
UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY,
Respondent.

__________________________________________________________________
PETITIONERS’ OPENING BRIEF
__________________________________________________________________

JANETTE K. BRIMMER
MATTHEW R. BACA
PATTI GOLDMAN
Earthjustice
705 Second Avenue, Suite 203
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 343-7340 | Phone
(206) 343-1526 | Fax
jbrimmer@earthjustice.org
mbaca@earthjustice.org
pgoldman@earthjustice.org
Attorneys for Petitioners

VIRGINIA RUIZ
Farmworker Justice
1126 – 16th Street, N.W., Suite 270
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 293-5420 | Phone
(202) 293-5427 | Fax
vruiz@farmworkerjustice.org
Attorney for Petitioners

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CORPORATE DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
Petitioners Pesticide Action Network North America, United Farm Workers,
and Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste have no parent companies,
subsidiaries or affiliates that have issued shares to the public in the United States or
abroad.
Respectfully submitted this 3rd day of October, 2014.

s/ Janette K. Brimmer
JANETTE K. BRIMMER
MATTHEW R. BACA
PATTI GOLDMAN
Earthjustice
705 Second Avenue, Suite 203
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 343-7340 | Phone
(206) 343-1526 | Fax
jbrimmer@earthjustice.org
mbaca@earthjustice.org
pgoldman@earthjustice.org
VIRGINIA RUIZ
Farmworker Justice
1126 – 16th Street, N.W., Suite 270
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 293-5420 | Phone
(202) 293-5427 | Fax
vruiz@ farmworkerjustice.org
Attorneys for Petitioners Pesticide Action
Network North America, United Farm
Workers, and Pineros y Campesinos Unidos
del Noroeste

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................... 1
JURISDICTION......................................................................................................... 2
STATEMENT OF ISSUES ON APPEAL ................................................................ 3
STATEMENT OF THE CASE .................................................................................. 3
STATEMENT OF FACTS AND BACKGROUND ................................................. 4
SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT ................................................................................. 9
STANDING ............................................................................................................. 10
ARGUMENT ........................................................................................................... 13
I.

STANDARD OF REVIEW. ............................................................... 13

II.

EPA’S DECISION SHOULD BE REVERSED BECAUSE
EPA HAS FAILED TO CONSIDER A RELEVANT
FACTOR, ITS EARLIER LEGAL ERROR, WHEN
DENYING SPRAY BUFFER PROTECTIONS. ............................... 14
A. EPA’s Statutory Obligations Require EPA to Consider All
Potential Exposures When Determining Risks to Children
From Pesticides and Require EPA to Protect Against
Unreasonable Risk. ....................................................................... 14
B. EPA Admits It Failed to Comply with the Mandate to
Consider and Protect Against All Pesticide Exposures but
Has Failed to Consider this Relevant Factor in Its Decision
to Deny Buffer Protections. .......................................................... 16
C. EPA Cannot Rely on Its Admittedly Flawed Reregistration
Decisions as an Excuse to Deny Protections Now. ...................... 21

III.

EPA’S DENIAL OF PROTECTIVE BUFFERS IS
INCONSISTENT WITH THE EVIDENCE, INCLUDING
EPA’S OWN PRACTICES, REGARDING THE USE AND
EFFECTIVENESS OF SPRAY BUFFERS. ...................................... 22

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A. EPA Agrees It Has the Authority to Impose Buffers
Through Label Notices.................................................................. 22
B. EPA Has Imposed Buffer Protections Outside of PesticideSpecific Registration Determinations, Contrary to EPA’s
Response........................................................................................ 23
IV.

A REMEDY WITH A DEADLINE IS NECESSARY TO
ENSURE THAT CHILDREN ARE PROTECTED. .......................... 27

CONCLUSION ........................................................................................................ 29

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TABLE OF AUTHORITIES
Page(s)
Cases
Abramowitz v. Envtl. Prot. Agency,
832 F.2d 1071 (9th Cir. 1987) ......................................................................27, 28
Am. Lung Ass’n v. Envtl. Prot. Agency,
134 F.3d 388 (D.C. Cir. 1998) ............................................................................ 14
Citizens for Better Forestry v. U.S. Dep’t of Agric.,
341 F.3d 961 (9th Cir. 2003) .............................................................................. 11
Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Bureau of Land Mgmt.,
698 F.3d 1101 (9th Cir. 2012) ............................................................................ 13
Fed. Power Comm’n v. Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corp.,
423 U.S. 326 (1976) ............................................................................................ 14
Fla. Power & Light Co v. Lorion,
470 U.S. 729 (1985) ............................................................................................ 14
Friends of the Earth v. Laidlaw Envtl. Servs.,
528 U.S. 167 (2000) ............................................................................................ 11
Hunt v. Wash. State Apple Adver. Comm’n,
432 U.S. 333 (1977) ............................................................................................ 12
Motor Vehicle Mfrs. Ass’n v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co.,
463 U.S. 29 (1983) .............................................................................................. 13
Nat’l Wildlife Fed’n v. Espy,
45 F.3d 1337 (9th Cir. 1995) .............................................................................. 28
Nw. Envtl. Def. Ctr. v. Bonneville Power Admin.,
477 F.3d 668 (9th Cir. 2007) .............................................................................. 13
Ober v. U.S. Envtl. Prot. Agency,
84 F.3d 304 (9th Cir. 1996) ................................................................................ 13

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Pac. Coast Fed’n of Fishermen’s Ass’ns, Inc. v. Nat’l Marine
Fisheries Serv.,
265 F.3d 1028 (9th Cir. 2001) ............................................................................ 13
Sec. & Exch. Comm’n v. Chenery Corp.,
332 U.S. 194 (1947) ............................................................................................ 14
United Farm Workers v. Adm’r, Envtl. Prot. Agency,
592 F.3d 1080 (9th Cir. 2010) .............................................................................. 2
UOP v. U.S.,
99 F.3d 344 (9th Cir. 1996) ................................................................................ 27
Veterans for Common Sense v. Shinseki,
644 F.3d 845 (9th Cir. 2011) .............................................................................. 12
Wash. Toxics Coal. v. Envtl. Prot. Agency,
2002 WL 34213031 (W.D. Wash. 2002) ............................................................ 25
Wash. Toxics Coal. v. Envtl. Prot. Agency,
413 F.3d 1024 (9th Cir. 2005) ............................................................................ 25
Statutes
7 U.S.C. § 136a ........................................................................................................ 14
7 U.S.C. § 136a(c)(5)(C).......................................................................................... 14
7 U.S.C. §§ 136a(c)(9), (d)(1).................................................................................. 22
7 U.S.C. § 136(bb)(1)............................................................................................... 14
7 U.S.C. § 136(bb)(2)............................................................................................... 15
7 U.S.C. § 136d(b) .............................................................................................16, 17
7 U.S.C. § 136n(b) ..................................................................................................... 2
7 U.S.C. §§ 136(p), (q)............................................................................................. 22
7 U.S.C. § 136w(a)(1) .......................................................................................... 2, 23
7 U.S.C. § 706(2) ...............................................................................................13, 14

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21 U.S.C. § 346a(b)(2)(A)(ii) .............................................................................. 15, 8
21 U.S.C. § 346a(b)(2)(C) ................................................................................... 7, 15
21 U.S.C. § 346a(h)(1) ............................................................................................... 2
21 U.S.C. § 346a(h)(5) ............................................................................................... 2
21 U.S.C. § 346a(q)(1)(C) .................................................................................16, 17
Regulations
40 C.F.R. §§ 170.1-250 .............................................................................................. 2
Other Authorities
65 Fed. Reg. 56,886 (Sept. 20, 2000) ...................................................................... 18
66 Fed. Reg. 57,073 (Nov. 14, 2001)....................................................................... 18
74 Fed. Reg. 57168 (Nov. 4, 2009)............................................................................ 3
79 Fed. Reg. 15,444 (Mar. 19, 2014) ....................................................................... 24
S. Rep. No. 92-838, reprinted in 1972 U.S.C.C.A.N. 3993 .................................... 15

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INTRODUCTION
On March 31, 2014, in response to the petition to the Environmental
Protection Agency (“EPA”), Pesticides in the Air—Kids at Risk: Petition to EPA to
Protect Children from Pesticide Drift (Oct. 13, 2009) (the “Kids’ Petition”), EPA
admitted it failed to protect children from pesticide drift exposures, which it was
legally required to do by 2006. ER 1-45.1 Yet, while it acknowledged its earlier
and uncorrected error, EPA denied the request for interim protective measures,
such as spray buffers to shield children from exposures to pesticide drift where
they live, play and go to school, while EPA undertakes a lengthy process to correct
those earlier, acknowledged mistakes.
EPA’s response denying interim pesticide drift protections for children states
an intention to comply with the law in the future, but EPA will not use its authority
to impose any protective measures while it plods through a years-long review
process. Instead, EPA will simply continue on its preset course. In issuing its
response, EPA failed to consider its violation of its obligation to consider pesticide
drift and made a decision counter to evidence demonstrating past practices
employing buffers.
Petitioners Pesticide Action Network North America, United Farm Workers,
1

EPA’s decision is found in Petitioners’ Excerpts of Record (“ER”) at pages ER 145. References to the Administrative Record that are not included in the ER will
be referenced as “AR” with a document number.

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and Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (the “Kids’ Coalition”) challenge
EPA’s refusal to impose interim protective measures such as spray buffers as
contrary to law and arbitrary and capricious.
JURISDICTION
Jurisdiction is proper in this Court pursuant to the Federal Insecticide,
Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (“FIFRA”) and applicable case law in this Circuit.2
Relevant here is the immediate relief sought in the Kids’ Petition: imposition by
EPA of interim no-spray buffer zones around places where children congregate
such as homes, schools, and playgrounds. This relief arises under EPA’s authority
and obligations under FIFRA to impose pesticide use restrictions to protect against
unreasonable risks to people or the environment. 7 U.S.C. § 136w(a)(1); see, e.g.,
40 C.F.R. §§ 170.1-250. Under FIFRA’s jurisdictional provision, 7 U.S.C.
§ 136n(b), judicial review of orders issued by EPA following a hearing is in the
court of appeals for the circuit wherein a party resides or has a place of business.
In United Farm Workers v. Adm’r, Envtl. Prot. Agency, 592 F.3d 1080 (9th Cir.
2010), this Court held that a public comment period is a “hearing” for the purposes
of FIFRA jurisdiction under § 136n(b). Id. at 1082.
2

The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which also applies to EPA’s actions
regarding registration of pesticides, likewise provides for jurisdiction in the courts
of appeal for challenges to decisions concerning pesticide tolerances, an element of
pesticide registration. 21 U.S.C. §§ 346a(h)(1) and 346a(h)(5).

2


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