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Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste v. Pruitt

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20046
Nos. 17-cv-03434, (N.D. Cal., 03/21/2018) (White, J.)

A district court held that EPA violated the APA by failing to provide notice and opportunity to comment before delaying the effective date of a January 2017 rule concerning the certification and use of “restricted use pesticides." The rule, which was to go into effect on March 6, 2017, established a three-year implementation schedule that required states to submit certification plans consistent with the pesticide rule by March 4, 2020. But following the change in administration, EPA abruptly reversed course and began delaying the March 6, 2017, effective date of the pesticide rule, largely without notice and comment. EPA justified this failure by relying on the “good cause” exception to the notice-and-comment requirements. The good cause exception, however, is extraordinarily narrow and is reserved for situations where delay would do real harm. A new administration’s simple desire to have time to review, and possibly revise or repeal, its predecessor’s regulations falls short of this exacting standard. The court therefore vacated various rules that EPA issued in 2017 to delay the effective date of the pesticides rule. The court also declared that the pesticide rule is now in effect.