Under Fire in Court, EPA Revives Pesticide-Training Rules

MANHATTAN (CN) – Reinstatement of pesticide rules that protect agricultural workers led three state attorneys general on Friday to drop their lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency.

Citing a June 22 rule published in the Federal Register, the top lawyers for New York, California and Maryland dismissed their suit without prejudice.

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood noted in a statement that the dismissal follows an about-face from the EPA.

“Again and again, the EPA has broken the law – and we’ve fought back and won,” Underwood said in a statement. “We won’t hesitate to do what’s necessary to protect the health and safety of all New Yorkers.”

The development falls one day after the resignation of Scott Pruitt, the former EPA chief who has been dogged by corruption scandals that sparked more than a dozen federal investigations under his tenure.

Well before public outcry sparked Pruitt’s departure, the suit here took issue with his suspension of the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard, which mandates occupational safety training relating to pesticide exposure.

The EPA first established federal standards for farmworkers in 1992, after a rash of injuries and illnesses from pesticide exposure caught the attention of regulators.

The Obama administration updated the rules in 2015, when the agency found that more intensive training sessions could have prevented worker injuries.

Andrew Wheeler, a former lobbyist for the coal giant Murray Energy, will take Pruitt’s place on Monday.

Representatives for the EPA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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