SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today issued the following statement after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit allowed California to intervene in a federal lawsuit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its failure to make a required safety finding for chlorpyrifos (League of United Latin American Citizens, et al. v. Pruitt). Chlorpyrifos is a pesticide used on more than 80 food crops. Many of these crops are consumed by infants and children.
“EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is not above the law. He has a legal responsibility to make a safety finding for chlorpyrifos. He must be held accountable,” said Attorney General Becerra. “California’s voice will be heard in this important lawsuit. The stakes are high for our state and states across our country.”
In November 2015, the EPA proposed a rule to revoke all residue levels of chlorpyrifos on food because of safety concerns. Specifically, the EPA noted that chlorpyrifos adversely affected the development of children’s brains. However, in March 2017, EPA Administrator Pruitt abruptly reversed course, ended the rulemaking process, and issued an order that left in effect the existing acceptable level of chlorpyrifos in food without making a required finding that the level is safe.
A coalition of six Attorneys General – New York, Washington, Vermont, Maryland, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia – had previously been allowed to intervene in the lawsuit. California is now a part of that coalition, along with Hawai’i, which was also allowed to intervene today.
Since taking office, Attorney General Becerra has taken swift and broad action to hold EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt accountable. Among other actions, Attorney General Becerra has submitted a 30-page comment letter to the EPA on due process violations, lack of fairness, and ethical lapses that arise from Administrator Pruitt’s involvement in the proposed rulemaking to repeal the Clean Power Plan; submitted his strong opposition to the EPA’s proposal to repeal regulations that place strict emissions standards on highly polluting "glider" trucks; and has filed a lawsuit against the EPA for failing to provide thirty-two categories of documents related to Administrator Pruitt’s known conflicts of interest and any actions taken by EPA or the Administrator to comply with federal ethics laws.
A copy of the motion to intervene is attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.