Federal regulators denied Texas farmers' push to use a powerful herbicide against invasive "super weeds" threatening to strangle cotton crops.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cited risks to drinking water and other hazards in its refusal of state officials' emergency request to allow the farmers to use Milo-Pro. The herbicide includes the chemical propazine, a restricted product that requires a license to purchase and use.
Texas had asked the EPA for an exemption that would have permitted use of the pesticide on up to 3 million acres--roughly half the state's land planted with cotton this year--to combat palmer amaranth, or pigweed, a fast-growing weed that can grow 3 inches a day and has developed a resistance to widely used chemicals.
A spokesman for the Texas Department of Agriculture, said it was "very disappointed" by the ruling. "Once again, members of the current administration have turned their back on the hard-working farmers of Texas," said Bryan Black.
The EPA acknowledged in its decision that Texas farmers' situation "does meet the criteria for an emergency."