Farmers and conservation groups filed a federal lawsuit on Friday challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of Monsanto’s new “XtendiMax” pesticide. The approval of the pesticide company’s latest version of the older weed-killer known as dicamba permits it to be sprayed directly on Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE), dicamba-resistant soybeans and cotton. The decision greenlights a more than 10-fold increase in use of the toxic pesticide, increasing risks to farmers, community health, and the environment. Because these same crops are also engineered to withstand applications of Monsanto’s Roundup, the overuse of that pesticide (containing the active ingredient glyphosate) will continue at current high levels.
Farmers in 10 states have already reported that much more limited dicamba spraying associated with Monsanto’s new dicamba-resistant crops has caused widespread damage to thousands of acres of their crops. And last fall, a dicamba drift dispute between an Arkansas and a Missouri farmer even resulted in one farmer being shot to death.
Monsanto’s dicamba-resistant crop system will drive up sales of this outdated pesticide, spur more superweeds and damage vulnerable crops. Monsanto’s solution is expensive, inadequate, and reckless.
The huge increase in dicamba spraying will trigger an outbreak of dicamba resistance in weeds, just as massive use of Roundup on first generation GE crops created an epidemic of weeds immune to glyphosate. While Monsanto spins its new dicamba crops as a fix to the current weed resistance problems its own Roundup Ready crop system caused, many scientists, and even the U.S. Department of Agriculture, predict the opposite: the rapid emergence of more superweeds, resistant to both herbicides. The evidence on the ground already indicates EPA’s weak weed resistance “management” plan will make the problem even worse, both because it lacks limits on dicamba use, and because it primarily relies on Monsanto for its implementation and enforcement.
— source centerforfoodsafety.org