The Supreme Court will decide later this month whether to hear a precedent-setting case about whether EPA has the discretion to reject requests from pesticide registrants seeking administrative hearings over the cancellation of food tolerances for their chemicals. Under law, a registrant may request an administrative hearing to challenge EPA’s scientific findings.

The court recently indicated that the justices are scheduled to discuss whether to hear the case, National Corn Growers Assoc., et al v. EPA, at a May 26 conference, which means a decision on whether the court will hear the case could be announced as soon as May 31.

Agricultural groups and pesticide maker FMC Corp. are suing EPA for rejecting their request for an administrative hearing when it revoked food safety tolerances for carbofuran (Furadan) which they say effectively banned its use. The pesticide is widely used to control pests that attack corn, potatoes, sunflowers and cotton. FMC has previously cancelled uses for cotton and citrus in an attempt to maintain other uses.

The petitioners are asking the high court to overturn a lower court ruling that found EPA had discretion to reject the industry request for an administrative hearing. The case is being watched closely because a favorable decision for the industry could make it easier for other registrants to hold hearings under the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act, where they can challenge the science EPA relies on when regulating the pesticides.