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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ENR

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15, 1995 (202) 616-2771


TDD (202) 514-1888

JUSTICE AND EPA SETTLE MIGRANT FARM WORKERS CASE

FARM WORKERS CAN COMMENT BEFORE PESTICIDE USE EXTENDED

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In a settlement that furthers the Clinton


Administration's environmental justice policy, the Justice
Department and the Environmental Protection Agency announced that
they have resolved a lawsuit brought by the United Farm Workers
of America. Under the terms of a settlement agreement filed
today in federal court in Washington, D.C., the Agency has agreed
to go beyond the plain terms of federal pesticide law to provide
public comment before it extends the time period during which
"existing stocks" of certain cancelled pesticides can be used.

Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide


Act (FIFRA), a manufacturer's registration of a pesticide can be
cancelled if the pesticide poses an unreasonable health or
environmental threat. But in some cases, upon the request of a
manufacturer, the Agency can permit the sale and use of existing
stocks of cancelled pesticides.

Migrant farm workers who were exposed to the pesticide,


mevinphos, which was later cancelled, sued the Government when
they learned that EPA had subsequently extended the period during
which the manufacturer could continue to sell "existing stocks"
of that cancelled pesticide. Despite its effectiveness as a
pesticide, mevinphos is an acutely toxic pesticide responsible
for poisoning hundreds of farm workers in California, Florida,
Texas, Arizona, and Washington, over the past twenty years.

EPA and the Department of Justice worked with the farm


workers to reach a settlement to ensure public involvement,
including that of the farm workers, in these type of decisions.
Under today's settlement, EPA will give public notice and an
opportunity to comment before it modifies the time period during
which existing stocks of certain cancelled pesticides can be
used.

(MORE)
"Today's settlement is part of EPA's ongoing efforts to
increase public involvement in the pesticide regulatory process,"
stated Lynn Goldman, EPA's Assistant Administrator for
Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances.

"This settlement is yet another example of the federal


government's commitment to environmental justice, and EPA is to
be commended for putting into practice the President's Order on
Environmental Justice," said Lois Schiffer, the Assistant
Attorney General of the Environment and Natural Resources
Division.

EPA is expected to publish its policy early in Spring 1996.

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