These days Roundup gets all the attention, but there’s another highly destructive and highly poisonous herbicide from Monsanto that has also made news for all the wrong reasons in recent months: dicamba.
Hit with a ban in Arkansas and restricted in many other states, this herbicide is highly toxic not just to weeds and other nusiance plants and insects, but also to the very crops that sustain farms across the country.
Damage has been swift and widespread.
Missouri’s biggest peach farm is suing due to dicamba damage in the millions of dollars because of wind drift, which happened despite the fact that it was supposed to be safe if applied properly.
Now it’s being revealed that the U.S. EPA actually consulted with Monsanto over changes to the label of this highly destructive substance that has been killing off crops across the country.
Court Documents: EPA Worked With Monsanto
A review of more than 800 pages of court documents taken from a lawsuit filed against the EPA in 2017 has been brought to light showing how the agency made label changes, according to this report from The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The lawsuit was filed by a host of natural and organic grassroots organizations including the Center for Food Safety, Center for Biological Diversity, the National Family Farm Coalition and the Pesticide Action Network North America in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
The suit alleges that a version of dicamba made by the St. Louis-area Monsanto company was unlawfully approved, which then led to a situation in which millions of acres of crops on neighboring farms of areas where it was sprayed were badly damaged.
Perhaps the biggest revelation was an EPA head speaking directly with a Monsanto lawyer.
“Like I said, no surprises,” chief of the Herbicides Branch of the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs Reuben Baris said to Thomas Marvin, a Monsanto lawyer, just hours before the announcement of the new dicamba label according to an email dated October 10 obtained as part of the lawsuit.
The correspondence between the EPA and Monsanto is not a new thing, unfortunately.
The very agency that is tasked with policing these companies and protecting us from their chemical concoctions has clearly been in close contact with Monsanto for years.
“If I kill this, I should get a medal,” one EPA officially named Jesse Rowland was also revealed to have said to a Monsanto executive according to earlier email links about a pending Roundup safety study.
On August 29, oral arguments will begin for the latest in a long line of legal troubles for Monsanto, which ironically have occurred to the company widely known for suing farmers over GMO seed patents.
Monsanto said in response according to the article that the lawsuit is an attempt from NGOs to take a “valuable tool out of the hands of farmers” (read the full statement here).
The Future of the Monsanto Company
With Monsanto now squarely under the Bayer umbrella, the transition to the new super-company will take time.
Meanwhile, however, Monsanto is locked in countless legal battles that threaten the very future of the company, including thousands of lawsuits alleging Roundup gave its users cancer.
At the end of the day, the two companies’ combined reach will remain huge. But we’re putting a dent in their bottom line in many different ways, and it’s sure to take a heavy toll when it’s all said and done.
For now, keep buying organic, and be sure to keep your eyes on the headlines.