USDA asks the court to dismiss suit against OTA | TSLN.com

USDA asks the court to dismiss suit against OTA

The Agriculture Department has asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to dismiss the Organic Trade Association's lawsuit challenging its delay of the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule.

In its filing, USDA argued that OTA "lacks standing because it pleads no facts showing that either it or its members have suffered or will suffer any cognizable injury as a result of USDA's decision to delay the effective date of the organic livestock rule."

In a response to the court, OTA said it "demonstrates herein that the unlawful rulemakings it challenges have caused it, and its members, harm in fact that is non-speculative and is directly traceable to the defendants' unlawful delays."

"The Organic Trade Association believes the USDA seeks dismissal to avoid explaining to America's organic producers and consumers why it is blocking necessary rule clarifications and the strengthening of organic production practices," OTA said in a news release.

"We are undeterred in our quest to have the judicial branch review the agency's delaying actions. The law requires the government to listen to all organic stakeholders and demonstrate a real commitment to a critical part of democracy — public input."

"USDA has engaged in a series of fumbled opportunities to explain its reasoning," the group said. "OTA and its members won't accept unending delay and thin explanations and we expect a federal judge won't either."

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–The Hagstrom Report