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DDT WarsRescuing Our National Bird, Preventing Cancer, and Creating EDF$
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Charles F. Wurster

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190219413

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190219413.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 June 2021

Time to Go After the Feds

Time to Go After the Feds

Chapter:
7 (p.103) Time to Go After the Feds
Source:
DDT Wars
Author(s):

Charles F. Wurster

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190219413.003.0012

By the fall of 1969 we knew we had to challenge pesticide regulation by the federal government if we were to ultimately prevail against DDT, but we did not know how to do it. We had the science well in hand and knew how to present it, with literally hundreds of scientists prepared to testify within their areas of expertise. We did not have the organizational structure to launch such an effort at the federal level, however, and we were certainly short of money. At about that time Joseph L. Sax, then the leading proponent of the development of environmental law at the University of Michigan Law School, suggested that we contact the newly founded Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), a public-interest law firm in Washington, DC. Joe was a member of the CLASP board. He insisted that DDT was in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was not enforcing FIFRA. I therefore called and talked at length with James W. Moorman (Fig. 7.1), attorney for CLASP, describing the DDT problem and proposed action against USDA. “If we are going to do this, then you are going to come down here and help me put the case together,” said Jim firmly. That was not music to my ears: I had other things I needed to do, but shortly I was on my way to Washington. CLASP was in a rundown part of Washington, and my “housing” consisted of sleeping on an old mattress in their dusty attic. But we got to work and wrote a petition to USDA in about a week. The petition was a formal legal request that the FIFRA registrations for DDT be canceled. The petition also requested that USDA suspend the registrations while it was considering their cancellation. We had no illusions that USDA would grant our request, but it was Jim’s advice that we go to USDA for administrative relief before seeking cancellation and suspension from the courts.

Keywords:   Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Delaney Food Additives Amendment, Federal Register, National Cancer Institute, West Michigan Environmental Action Council, birth defects, public interest law

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