EPA eased herbicide regulations following Monsanto research, records show

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lessened protections for crops and wildlife habitats after Monsanto supplied research that presented lower estimates of how far the weed killer dicamba can drift, according to a review of federal documents. In its final report approving the usage of dicamba on soybeans, the agency expressed confidence that dicamba, new versions of which are made by Monsanto and German chemical company BASF, would not leave the field. The registration covered both herbicides, an EPA spokesperson said. “The EPA expects that exposure will remain confined to the dicamba (DGA) treated field,” the agency wrote in the final registration approving the use of dicamba in November 2016. However, drift from dicamba damaged more than 3.6 million acres of soybeans in 2017, according to data from Kevin Bradley, a professor at the University of Missouri.

Pesticide makers primed Illinois officials ahead of dicamba damage, emails show

By the time Illinois farmers started filing formal complaints of herbicide damage to their soybeans this year with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, state officials were already receiving advice from the makers of the herbicides, according to a review of department emails. Darrell Hoemann/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting
Dicamba resistant soybeans in rural McLean County on August 7. The emails – contained in more than 60 pages of documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act – show the companies often suggested how to deal with the complaints, sometimes without any solicitation from department officials. The emails covered the time period from January through September 2017. Monsanto, a St.