Wednesday, August 2, 2023

BISMARCK, N.D. – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring strongly opposes the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently released draft herbicide strategy, which proposes to implement mitigation measures to all conventional herbicides used in the lower 48 states.

The EPA says it is proposing this strategy to mitigate any risk from potential off-target movement of herbicides by spray drift, erosion or runoff and to meet its obligations more quickly under the Endangered Species Act.

“The proposed mitigations include potential downwind buffers of up to 500 feet and options of prescribed land management practices that producers would have to implement before using products, even in areas where threatened and endangered species do not exist,” Goehring said. “The unworkable mitigation measures mandate land management practices through pesticide labels and pose significant challenges, burdens and costs, while adding more civil liability and regulatory uncertainty for American farmers and state lead agencies.” 

“This proposal represents the most significant imposition of new regulation on the agricultural sector in generations,” Goehring continued. “The extensive mitigations that will be imposed lack any demonstrable evidence that they will provide any added protections to threatened and endangered species.”

The EPA moved forward with its draft herbicide strategy despite a proposed stipulated settlement agreement not being finalized in the case of Center for Biological Diversity v. United States EPA in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals with respect to the Endangered Species Act. The proposed stipulated settlement agreement would mandate strict timelines for the EPA to finalize and implement the herbicide strategy along with many other things.

“Certain environmental activist groups routinely sue the EPA because the EPA frequently fails to perform its statutory duties and does not meet its mandatory deadlines. Instead of fighting these lawsuits, the EPA commonly rolls over and settles with these groups – consenting to do whatever the groups demand,” Goehring said. “In 2017, the EPA rightfully prohibited its use of these ‘sue and settle’ and ‘friendly lawsuit’ tactics. However, under the Biden administration, the EPA formally rescinded that ban, permitting these lawsuits to once again drive its regulatory rule making.”  

Goehring intends to submit official comments to the EPA opposing the EPA’s newly proposed draft herbicide strategy. Interested parties may submit their comments by Sep. 22, 2023, at

Goehring will also be submitting comments to the EPA on the proposed stipulated settlement agreement in the case of Center for Biological Diversity v. United States EPA. Interested parties may submit their comments by Aug. 16, 2023, at