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Organic Community “Sunset” Lawsuit Advances After Major Victory Over USDA Dismissal Effort

Consumers and farmers have won a MAJOR victory. A Federal court judge has rejected USDA’s motion-to-dismiss a lawsuit filed to challenge USDA’s illegally instituted procedure which ram-rodded a REVERSAL of the Sunset Rule. The court ruling means the substantive portion of our strong lawsuit (OSGATA is a plaintiff) is now green-lighted to be argued before the court.
When Congress passed the ‘Organic Foods Production Act’ it REQUIRED synthetic inputs on the approved Materials List to be reviewed every five years. Allowed use of a specific input would sunset (end) UNLESS a two-thirds majority of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) voted to keep it on the list.
In 2013 – illegally and without public consultation – USDA reversed this requirement and instead established inputs PERMANENT position on the list (“perpetual sunrise”) unless a two-thirds of the NOSB voted to remove it. Our lawsuit is challenging this reversal.
This article from our allies at Beyond Pesticides offers excellent background on what’s at stake and how the organic community is now significantly advantaged in its fight with USDA. Jim

“On Thursday, September 8, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California rejected the U.S. Department of Agriculture‚Äôs (USDA) motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit (Case No. 15-cv-01590-HSG) that challenges changes to the rules that review the potential hazards and need for allowed synthetic and prohibited natural substances used in certified organic food production. Finding that plaintiffs had established both proper jurisdiction and a viable claim, this ruling allows the case to move forward on its merit. The court will now be able to review the substantive importance of formal notice and public comment regarding the rules for organic food production, which were changed dramatically by USDA in 2013.”