Suriya threatens countersuit on relaxed farm chemicals ban

Suriya threatens countersuit on relaxed farm chemicals ban

Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit said on Tuesday he would consider bringing lawsuits against those accusing him over the countermanded ban on three toxic farm chemicals. (File photo, supplied)
Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit said on Tuesday he would consider bringing lawsuits against those accusing him over the countermanded ban on three toxic farm chemicals. (File photo, supplied)

Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit said on Tuesday he would counter-sue any organisations that bring a threatened lawsuit against him over the countermanded farm chemicals ban.

Mr Suriya also declared no vote was needed on the resolution to override the previous panel's decision, because the members agreed on the wording.

Speaking at Government House, he said would have his lawyers prepare a legal response after a network of organisations supporting the ban on three toxic farm chemicals announced their plan to take legal action against him.

Mr Suriya was insistent that the meeting of the new National Hazardous Substances Committee that he chaired last Wednesday actually agreed on a new resolution on the farm chemical ban.

The minister announced after the meeting that the committee decided to lift the scheduled ban on the herbicide glyphosate and delay the ban on the herbicide paraquat and pesticide chlorpyrifos for six months.

It countermanded the previous committee's resolution on Oct 22 to ban the three chemicals from Dec 1 this year.

Senior Health officials who sit on the committee later challenged Mr Suriya's announcement. They said the committee did not have a vote on the issue, and therefore the Oct 22 resolution and ban remained in effect.

On Tuesday, Mr Suriya said that the committee's meeting last Wednesday was recorded and the audio  would prove it agreed on a new resolution that day.

Committee members shared different views. Some wanted an immediate ban and others wanted to either postpone it for 3-6 months or totally lift the whole ban, he said.

"Then I had officials draft a resolution, put it on-screen and change it until it satisfied all members. Then I asked if anyone had a different opinion and everyone confirmed they agreed with it. The resolution was unanimous for the ban's postponement," Mr Suriya said.

He dismissed arguments that committee members must raise their hands in a show of support to make a resolution legitimate.

"I had already sought the opinions of the meeting participants, and that made a raising of hands unnecessary," Mr Suriya said.

He said a statement issued by a network of more than 600 organisations supporting the Oct 22 resolution and ban was damaging to him, and his lawyers would consider a countersuit.


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