Court Sets Aside BiOp, Finds Proposed Salmon-Related Restrictions “Arbitrary and Capricious” - 3/13/13
In February 2013, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a federal agency’s call for new salmon-related restrictions on chlorpyrifos and two other pesticides under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), deeming the restrictions “arbitrary and capricious” and “not the product of reasoned decision-making.” In 2008, in an effort to fulfill some of its responsibilities under the ESA, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published a “Biological Opinion” (BiOp) concluding that three insecticides (chlorpyrifos among them) posed a risk to the survival of certain species of salmonids (including salmon) in the western U.S. The BiOp called upon the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to impose extensive, unwarranted restrictions on these products, including spray buffer zones of up to 1,000 feet between application sites and water bodies. Despite misgivings on the part of EPA, state regulatory agencies, and the agricultural community, during 2010 EPA stated publicly that it intended to implement the NMFS recommendations. In response, registrants for the affected products filed suit, requesting that the flawed BiOp be set aside. That request has now been granted by the court. This decision strengthens public policy by reinforcing statutory requirements for use of the best available information in regulatory decision-making. In doing so, it also prepares the way for better and more defensible regulatory assessments and in time better protection for endangered species.
- Read CropLife America’s statement about the court ruling
- Read more about background and implications of the controversy
- Read EPA’s critique of the draft NMFS BiOp
Chlorpyrifos and Bystander Exposure – EPA Seeking Input on Preliminary Assessment of Volatility and Bystander Exposure - 2/11/2013
As part of its ongoing pesticide regulatory review process, EPA has offered for public comment a preliminary risk assessment projecting a need for significantly increased buffer zones to protect bystanders from potential exposure to chlorpyrifos volatility arising from treated areas following product application. EPA’s draft assessment is the first attempt that the Agency has made to estimate bystander exposure to an insecticide by volatility. While the Agency’s assessment is as-yet unrefined, it can be made more realistic as its computer-based modeling is supplemented with values more characteristic of real-world conditions based on actual farm experience.
The highly precautionary conclusions in EPA’s preliminary assessment are driven by many uncertainties and unresolved areas of regulatory policy. The Agency’s draft is currently scheduled to be available for public comment until early March, after which it will be revised based on the input received, reflecting the Agency’s statutory obligation to use the best available information in regulatory evaluations. Among the uncertainties that EPA is requesting input on is how volatilization may vary for specific crops (e.g., based on type of foliage, crop canopy, etc.); the impact of wind and weather; and how variables such as product formulation, application method, rate of application, size of field and timing of application are likely to affect volatilization outcomes.
Dow AgroSciences is committed both to continued grower access to chlorpyrifos and to science-based regulation of pesticide products. Dow AgroSciences and other stakeholders will be submitting detailed technical comments on EPA’s assessment, and we believe that additional refinement will further demonstrate that existing label directions for chlorpyrifos use are already highly protective. This is particularly the case since published animal studies in the laboratory demonstrate that not enough chlorpyrifos can be delivered via vapor-phase exposure to produce an adverse effect.
Every product lost to over-estimated risks takes away crop protection tools growers need to maintain productivity, for defense against insect resistance and for maintenance of existing integrated pest management programs. Given the uncertainties and the lack of previous regulatory policy in this area, Dow AgroSciences is calling on EPA to expand the public comment period on this assessment from 30 to 90 days. Further, since regulatory precedents set in this area will likely affect assessments and volatility-based restrictions on other products in the future, other agricultural stakeholders may wish to consider making a similar request.
Dow AgroSciences will make further information and perspectives available in near future as EPA’s preliminary assessment is examined in detail.
EPA Announcement on Chlorpyrifos and Spray Drift - 7/18/2012
Dow AgroSciences acknowledges recent EPA actions reaffirming regulatory authorizations for the continued use of the insecticide chlorpyrifos in U.S. agriculture. In today’s actions, the Agency has rejected a number of key historical objections offered by pesticide opponents; clarified chlorpyrifos use relative to the potential for bystander exposure; and reaffirmed EPA’s long-standing commitment to transparent, science-based regulatory policies in requiring weight-of-the-evidence evaluations to address inconsistencies in the findings of epidemiology and animal research.
While Dow AgroSciences strongly believes that current label directions for chlorpyrifos use already offer wide margins of protection relative to potential bystander exposure, the label amendments announced by EPA today, which will go into effect at a later date, are consistent with sound drift management principles that have been present on product labels for many years. We see the EPA’s desire to offer further definition of good stewardship practices already inherent in existing labeling as reflective of current directions in pesticide policy.
- You can view a letter summarizing EPA’s announcement at this link.
- A Dow AgroSciences Q&A document on product labeling changes is available at this link.
Perspective – Recent Claims About Links Between Chlorpyrifos and Brain Anomalies – 5/4/2012
Dow AgroSciences is evaluating closely a recent publication by Columbia University researchers claiming to have noted links between prenatal chlorpyrifos exposure and subtle changes in brain development (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published ahead of print, April 30, 2012). The study focuses on differences in MRI scans between two groups of 20 children that the study authors believe had “high” vs. “low” prenatal chlorpyrifos exposure.
This study plows new ground but is difficult to interpret. The children are a subset of a larger study group that has generated many publications reporting a complex set of statistical connections between a number of different endpoints (behavior, IQ, brain morphometry, etc.) and estimated environmental exposures to various chemicals. The overall study design is unclear. Further, statistical outcomes may be due to chance and cannot be used to demonstrate causation.
Dow AgroSciences perspectives on findings from this recent publication as well as claims from past publications from the Columbia University researchers may be found at the following links:
- Read Dow AgroSciences perspectives on recently published claims concerning chlorpyrifos and brain anomalies
- Read Dow AgroSciences perspectives on previously published Columbia University claims concerning chlorpyrifos
EPA to Convene New Scientific Advisory Panel Review of Chlorpyrifos - 3/26/2012
As part of the ongoing Registration Review process for chlorpyrifos, EPA has announced that it will be convening a Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) meeting during April 10-13 to seek expert guidance on the best way to integrate research findings for chlorpyrifos in a data-rich environment with studies conducted by different methods, in different fields (e.g., toxicology vs. epidemiology), for different purposes and with different limitations. Dow AgroSciences is encouraged that EPA is actively seeking to use the best available science in its evaluation of chlorpyrifos.
A special focus of the SAP review will be an understanding of the results of academic research in light of EPA-mandated regulatory guideline studies conducted under Good Laboratory Practice standards for use in registration evaluations. Some academic studies have suggested a potential for subtle effects from exposures via atypical routes of administration, at doses well below accepted no-effect levels or without clear involvement of the mechanism of action (cholinesterase inhibition) that has been long established for chlorpyrifos by state-of-the-art toxicology research. The panel will evaluate these differing results and provide EPA with guidance on their interpretation.
In its October 2011 response to EPA’s preliminary human health assessment, Dow AgroSciences provided the Agency with a comprehensive weight-of-the-evidence evaluation of key issues to be considered by the panel. We are confident in the quality of the work we submitted and look forward to the panel’s evaluation. We welcome a comprehensive review of the science behind chlorpyrifos and will keep stakeholders advised of the outcome.
Agricultural Stakeholders Tell EPA Why They Need Chlorpyrifos Uses Retained - 11/2/2011
Continued access to the insecticide chlorpyrifos is important for successful production of a wide range of U.S. crops, according to public comments submitted by agricultural stakeholders on a preliminary EPA chlorpyrifos regulatory assessment released during July of 2011. Read the summary of stakeholder comments and links to submitted information.
Growers clearly need a trusted, well-established product to protect a wide range of crops from a diverse spectrum of damaging pests. As a highly effective, well-studied crop protection product with regulatory authorizations in most countries for use on most crops, chlorpyrifos meets that pressing need. Dow AgroSciences supports chlorpyrifos for use in U.S. agriculture and will continue to work with EPA to address requirements for high-quality health, safety and environmental data to meet the needs of the Agency’s ongoing regulatory review process.
Dow AgroSciences Responds to EPA's Preliminary Chlorpyrifos Human Health Assessment - 10/18/2011
In a detailed, 900-page response to EPA’s preliminary chlorpyrifos human health assessment (submitted October 5), Dow AgroSciences notes significant areas in which the current EPA assessment represents an advance over past assessments of chlorpyrifos completed by the Agency -- as well as some areas for improvement. Read a summary of the pertinent topics in this response.
Read the Executive Summary of Dow AgroScience's response to EPA's preliminary chlorpyrifos human health assessment.
Dow AgroSciences Offers a Brief Review of EPA’s Preliminary Chlorpyrifos Human Health Assessment – 7/28/2011
In its upcoming submission to the EPA docket, Dow AgroSciences will be responding in detail to all of the parts of the draft chlorpyrifos human health assessment that the Agency has posted thus far. EPA’s assessment, which is part of the Registration Review process, is highly technical. The assessment contains detailed scientific information offered in eight different documents and associated appendices totaling over 1200 pages. Our science team at Dow AgroSciences is now conducting a thorough evaluation of all of the Agency’s assumptions, assessment methods and conclusions.
As distinct from our yet-to-be submitted technical comments for use by EPA in preparing its revised chlorpyrifos assessment, however, Dow AgroSciences is offering the following initial brief review and perspectives of the materials that the Agency has posted thus far. These perspectives are offered in response to stakeholder interest.
Dow AgroSciences Requests Extension of Public Comment Period for EPA Human Health Assessment of Chlorpyrifos – 7/22/2011
Dow AgroSciences (DAS) is requesting extension of the public comment period for the preliminary human health assessment for chlorpyrifos, which was recently released by EPA as part of its Registration Review program. This opened a 60-day public comment period on the preliminary human health risk assessment which will close on September 6, 2011. The chlorpyrifos assessment the first substantive human health assessment prepared as part of the Registration Review program and includes complex issues and application of precedent-setting policies requiring extensive study and evaluation.
Dow AgroSciences has submitted a request to extend the public comment period by an additional 60 days. We believe this request is justified and reasonable in view of the need to ensure a sound scientific approach and to maintain the integrity of the Agency’s Registration Review process. Adequate time is needed for the EPA preliminary assessment to be thoroughly reviewed and for useful comments to be developed and submitted. A 60-day comment period would deprive Dow AgroSciences and other critical stakeholders of the necessary time required to construct the most thoughtful and cogent comments for the benefit of the EPA.
EPA Human Health Assessment of Chlorpyrifos to be Released July 1 – 7/1/2011
EPA is expected to post a preliminary human health assessment of chlorpyrifos on its Website by the end of Friday, July 1. This is the first full human health assessment for a pesticide to be completed under EPA’s Registration Review program, which was first initiated for chlorpyrifos in 2009 and which is expected to conclude in 2015.
EPA will post the preliminary assessment in downloadable form via the EPA Website which will open a 60-day public comment period beginning on July 6. Dow AgroSciences plans to request a 60-day extension to this comment period.
Dow AgroSciences has prepared an initial position statement. We’ll follow this up with more detailed information once we have thoroughly reviewed the preliminary assessment.
Weight of the Science Offers Little Basis for Links Between OP Exposure and Reduced IQ – 4/29/2011
Three epidemiological papers were published April 21 claiming prenatal or early exposure to organophosphate pesticides are associated with adverse affects on children’s cognitive development. Despite media attention to the three recent publications, the weight of the scientific evidence from decades of research offers little support for claims that exposures of pregnant women to organophosphate pesticides (OPs) could lead to their children having reduced scores on IQ or developmental tests. Based on our initial review, we believe that the limitations of these three new publications are similar to those found in previous publications generated from the same studies. Based on our initial review, we believe that the limitations of these three new publications are similar to those found in the previous work. For a more detailed perspective offered by Dow AgroSciences on these three recent publications click here.CropLife America issued the following about the studies.
Steve Milloy published his perspective of the research on JunkScience.com which can be found here.
The Alliance for Food and Farming issued the following statement about the publications.
Court Calls for Judicial Review of Agency's Biological Opinion for Salmon - 3/2/2011
A highly controversial National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) assessment concluding that farmers in California and the Pacific Northwest need to adopt stringent new restrictions in order to protect salmon from exposure to pesticides will now undergo judicial review, based on a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Dow AgroSciences looks forward to having this case decided on the merits in District Court. Dow AgroSciences and other registrants will ask the Court to require NMFS to set aside its Biological Opinion for chlorpyrifos and two other insecticide products (the BiOp) and, in issuing a new one, to consider all the data and use “the best scientific and commercial data available,” as required by the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. § 1536(a)(2)).
Beyond this court case, and in concert with growers and other interested parties, Dow AgroSciences will continue to press for sound regulatory policies for the protection of endangered species, including assessments grounded in the best available science and actual product use conditions and use of the extensive monitoring data that has been developed to document water quality in affected areas over years of regulatory oversight.
EPA Science Advisory Panel to Use Chlorpyrifos Data for Improving Health Risk Assessment Exposure Modeling- 1/5/2011
A panel of independent scientific advisors convened by EPA under the Federal Insecticide, Rodenticide and Fungicide Act is scheduled to meet in February to evaluate a new approach to health risk assessment, using data on chlorpyrifos as a case study. The new approach is believed to offer regulators more refined, more scientifically defensible risk assessments, thus reducing scientific uncertainties and potentially diminishing the use of extreme, worst-case assumptions in regulatory decision-making.
The upcoming science advisory panel review, set for February 15-18, may provide EPA with important guidance for its next health risk assessment of chlorpyrifos, which is currently scheduled for completion in 2011.
The new approach to health risk assessment – known as pharmacokinetic/ pharmacodynamic (PBPK/PD) modeling – provides better information about how pesticides interact with the human body, offering dose-related mathematical projections of how much of the material enters the body, how it is distributed, how rapidly, where and by what processes it is broken down; and how and at what rate the body gets rid of it. This information is particularly helpful in complex regulatory assessments involving different forms of experimental data from different species at different doses via different routes of exposure and also with projections of human exposure from different media (e.g., diet, water, other), and especially when dealing with compounds operating by similar mechanisms of action.
The review panel chose to use chlorpyrifos as a case study for evaluating this more advanced approach to health risk modeling because of the wealth of data that has been developed on the product over many years of research. This dataset includes a well-defined understanding of metabolism and mechanism of action, multiple markers for exposure and effect, a detailed model offering quantitative predictions for the most sensitive markers of exposure (i.e. inhibition of plasma and red blood cell cholinesterases) and actual human data for model calibration and evaluation.
This rich dataset and the PBPK/PD model to interpret it were developed in response to the recommendations of a 2008 science advisory panel review, advocating use of the PBPK/PD approach to enhance previous, draft EPA chlorpyrifos evaluations. The Agency’s prior approach to assessing chlorpyrifos was largely based on results of cholinesterase inhibition in adult laboratory animals as modified by the Agency through the use of default uncertainty factors to address regulatory concerns about individual and interspecies differences and potentially greater susceptibility in certain sub-groups.
At the February meeting, the science advisory panel will be evaluating the feasibility of linking chlorpyrifos PBPK/PD modeling data with the EPA’s current Cumulative and Aggregate Risk Evaluation System (CARES). The chlorpyrifos PBPK/PD model to be considered uses existing regulatory software models for estimating pesticide exposures over time (e.g., CARES, LifeLine, SHEDS). The model projects exposures for three different age groups (adults, 3-yr-olds, and 6-mo-olds). It also includes an analysis of factors that contribute to individual differences in susceptibility and provides a sounder scientific basis for developing age-specific regulatory uncertainty factors.
Read the Federal Register Notice for the FIFRA Science Advisory Panel meeting.
Response to PANNA’s renewed call for regulatory authorities to halt current uses of the insecticide chlorpyrifos- 10/14/10
The perspectives of the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) on pesticides, and on chlorpyrifos in particular, are well known and have been thoroughly evaluated by regulatory authorities in the past. The concerns raised in a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, orchestrated by PANNA, are already being evaluated by EPA in the normal course of regulatory review.
The following points on chlorpyrifos may add perspective to the concerns that PANNA has expressed.
- Chlorpyrifos is one of the most widely used pest control products in the world. It is registered for use in about 100 nations, including the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Italy, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
- Current uses of chlorpyrifos have been carefully evaluated by regulatory authorities charged with the protection of public health in terms of potential exposures to children and others. In the U.S. and other developed nations, these evaluations have taken place – and are continuing to take place – within a well-defined, transparent, science-based regulatory process in which information from new studies and input from third-parties – including the perspectives of groups opposed to pesticides – are thoroughly considered by the Agency. PANNA’s press release represents an effort to circumvent that process.
- EPA’s extensive assessment of chlorpyrifos and its health-based rationale for allowing continued uses are publicly posted on the Agency’s Web site for stakeholder review. Current uses are allowed under federal law because regulatory assessments have demonstrated that exposures from authorized treatments do not pose risks of regulatory concern.
- Labeled uses of chlorpyrifos rest on more than four decades of experience in use, health surveillance of manufacturing workers and applicators and more than 3,600 studies and reports examining the product in terms of human health and the environment. No pest control product has been more thoroughly tested.
EPA Seeks Public Comment on Industry - 7/28/10
The U.S. EPA has asked for public comment on an industry petition calling for more transparent procedures in the establishment of pesticide use restrictions under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Dow AgroSciences, Cheminova and Makhteshim-Agan of North America filed the petition in January 2010.
The petition was prompted by the essentially ad hoc process that EPA is currently using to impose label amendments and county-specific restrictions related to salmon in key agricultural and timber production areas of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California. The haphazard approach now being pursued by the Agency sets a poor precedent for establishing similar restrictions on dozens of products in the Western U.S. and would also impact EPA’s approach for future restrictions addressing hundreds of threatened and endangered species across the U.S.
The petition calls for EPA to draw up clear rules for creating and amending endangered species protection program “county bulletins” and provide adequate opportunities for registrant, state agency, and grower inputs. The petition is open to public comment until September 27th, 2010.
Read EPA’s Federal Register Notice soliciting public comment on the petition.
Prepare for submitting comments to EPA by reviewing a Q&A document providing additional background and guidance.
Read the companies full petition announcement.
Read the rulemaking petition text.
Learn more about the Endangered Species Act and the EPA's proposed plans.
Perspective: Activists File Suit Against EPA Over Chlorpyrifos Registrations and Tolerances - 7/23/2010
Earthjustice announced Thursday, July 22, 2010, that the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Pesticide Action Network have filed suit against EPA in an attempt to force a court-ordered response to their 2007 petition to the Agency to take regulatory action against the insecticide chlorpyrifos. The following offers Dow AgroSciences’ perspective on that action.
EPA recently finalized a thorough scientific evaluation of chlorpyrifos in 2006 in which all current uses of the product were supported by the Agency. (Note: By law, EPA cannot authorize use of a pest control product to protect a food crop, unless it has determined that these uses pose a “reasonable certainty of no harm.”) Many, if not all, of NRDC’s concerns were thoroughly considered by EPA during that evaluation.
Since that time, as part of the normal regulatory review process, EPA has initiated yet another evaluation of chlorpyrifos, which began in March 2009. This review will - once again - consider all health, safety and environmental aspects of chlorpyrifos uses, updating the Agency’s prior assessments with new information and addressing all of the concerns raised by NRDC’s petition.
NRDC’s petition (and the lawsuit filed to require EPA to respond to it) contribute nothing to the thorough health, safety and environmental regulatory evaluations already underway. If anything, the petition and suit reflect an effort on the part of NRDC to use legal action to short-circuit the rational, science-based regulatory processes by which its concerns are already being addressed. Over the years, NRDC has submitted petitions to EPA on many other pest control products that it has concerns about, many of which EPA has denied.
Chlorpyrifos is important to U.S. agriculture because it controls a wide range of insects on citrus, tree nuts, grapes, soybeans, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, alfalfa, wheat and other important crops. The product is an important part of grower Integrated Pest Management programs. It is less disruptive to beneficial insects than other products and more effective against crop pests than many alternative treatments. For some crops and crop pests, there are no alternative products that have been both demonstrated to be effective and that are readily available to growers.
Chlorpyrifos is registered today in approximately 100 nations, including most developed nations, based on detailed review of extensive scientific studies by regulators charged with the protection of human health. Registered uses rest on four decades of experience with the product, health surveillance of manufacturing workers and applicators and an extensive database of studies on health and the environment. No pest control product has been more thoroughly studied.
Continued product support during ongoing regulatory review is a prerequisite today for maintaining product registrations of crop protection products. Dow AgroSciences is prepared to support continued registration of chlorpyrifos and has extensive scientific data and 40 years of experience with the product under labeled use to bring to these evaluations.
For further information, contact Garry Hamlin, Dow AgroSciences, Indianapolis (317-337-4799 ~ GarryHamlin@Dow.com).
Impasse Reached on West Coast Endangered Species Act Restrictions – 05/10/10
Four crop protection product manufacturers – Dow AgroSciences, Makhteshim-Agan of North America, Cheminova and Gharda Chemicals Ltd. – advised EPA on Friday, May 7, 2010, that they would not voluntarily agree to new restrictions based on a National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) assessment on the use of the insecticides chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion in the Western U.S.
“Solid scientific analysis…supports [the] view,” the companies noted in their response “that the use of [these] products is not taking or jeopardizing any protected species and not adversely affecting any critical habitat.”
The companies also noted that EPA itself has strongly criticized the NMFS assessment of endangered salmon species on which the new restrictions are based – and that the companies have challenged that NMFS assessment based on many of the same deficiencies pointed out by EPA and lead state regulatory agencies.
If the companies were to comply, grower access to these important pest control products would be severely limited within the 176,000 square mile area of California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington where these restrictions would take effect. Compliance would also create an adverse regulatory precedent for growers using other crop protection products in the years ahead.
The companies note that agreeing to the restrictions would be inconsistent with legal and regulatory filings that they have outstanding on these issues. Among these is a suit against NMFS over the flawed assessment that is currently driving EPA’s action; and a petition to EPA calling on the Agency to adopt transparent policies in establishing Endangered Species Act restrictions.
The companies stress that they “remain willing to consider adjustments to product labels that are consistent with the facts and the needs of growers and vector control programs” and they call on EPA to undertake a fundamental reassessment of its approach to integrating its responsibilities under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act with its obligations under the Endangered Species Act.
EPA may decide to initiate a regulatory process to force restrictions on these three insecticides. Should this occur the companies believe that the deficiencies of the NMFS assessment would become glaringly obvious in the science-based hearings that would follow. The companies continue to press for a resolution of these issues resulting in a more open process for Endangered Species Act regulations where the input of registrants, growers, agricultural experts and other interested parties is more readily considered in regulatory decision-making.
Read the companies’ response to the EPA.
Access the EPA’s letter requesting companies change their labels.
Visit our Endangered Species Act page to learn more about the history of the issue and its legal implications
See why farmers, commodity and grower associations as well as state regulatory officials are concerned about EPA’s plans.
Read excerpts of the criticisms that EPA and other regulatory bodies have made about the NMFS assessment
View grower comments about their need for chlorpyrifos.
Contact Garry Hamlin (317-337-4799; GarryHamlin@Dow.com) for additional information.
CropLife America and Three Registrants Give Notice That They Are Prepared to Sue EPA Over Endangered Species Act Restrictions – 04/16/10
CropLife America and three pesticide registrants – Cheminova, Inc.; Dow AgroSciences; and Makhteshim Agan of North America – have filed notice that they are prepared to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its failure to fulfill its statutory obligations under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), specifically as it relates to salmon habitat in the western U.S.
The filers claim that EPA’s response to these statutory obligations has been thoroughly hijacked by pesticide opposition group litigation so that the Agency is now preparing to impose new use restrictions on crop protection products based on a hastily contrived assessment that – contrary to specific requirements of the ESA – fails to consider the best scientific and commercial information available.
Read the full statement.
Read the Notice of Intent letter.
Learn more about the Legislative History of Section 1010.
Visit our Endangered Species Act page to learn more about the history of the issue and its legal implications.
From Capitol Press: States Weigh in on EPA’s No-spray Buffers – 03/21/10
The directors of Washington and Oregon state agriculture departments have made it very clear to the EPA that the agency has not been diligent about following the dictates of the Endangered Species Act where it concerns impact to the agricultural industry.
In letters dated November 12, 2009 and March 1, 2010, respectively, Dan Newhouse of the State of Washington Department of Agriculture and Katy Coba of the Oregon Department of Agriculture strongly questioned both the NMFS’ definition of salmon waters and the EPA’s plan to mandate product labeling changes for buffer zones and no-spray buffers for chlorpyrifos, malathion, and diazinon.
Newhouse’s letter to Gary Locke of the U.S. Department of Commerce not only challenges the NMFS’s approach to evaluating the impact of these pesticides on salmon populations but also invokes regulations under Section 7 of the ESA. Section 7 dictates that “reasonable and prudent alternatives” (RPAs) to pesticide use must be provided and must also take into consideration the economic impact of those alternatives. Newhouse asks, “Given the broad definition of habitat and likely prohibition of use, did NMFS consider the cost associated with changing pest management strategies?”
Coba’s letter voices similar concerns: “While Oregon is committed to ensuring that the use of pesticides are managed to limit the risks to listed fish and aquatic health, we are concerned that the proposed approach places undue burden on the forestry and agricultural communities and as proposed is not workable on the ground.”
Read the Capitol Press article, summarizing their concerns.
Visit our Endangered Species Act page to learn more about the history of the issue and its legal implications.
Dow AgroSciences, Makhteshim-Agan and Cheminova Petition EPA to Consider Ag Stakeholder Input on Endangered Species Restrictions – 01/20/10
Three crop protection product manufacturers – Dow AgroSciences, Makhteshim-Agan of North America and Cheminova – have filed a petition calling on EPA to adopt transparent procedures allowing public notice and comment on Endangered Species Act decisions. The petition is prompted by the essentially ad hoc process that EPA is currently using to impose label amendments and county-specific restrictions related to salmon in more than 112 million acres of key agricultural and timber production areas of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California.
The petition calls on EPA to:
- Provide manufacturers with timely notice of proposed amendments to county bulletins
- Solicit input from manufacturers and agricultural stakeholders prior to implementing changes
- Use standard regulatory procedures in addressing disputes about bulletin content
- Provide specific guidance on how these regulatory procedures will be applied
While EPA’s imminent actions concern three products – chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion – the process the Agency is using will set a precedent for establishing similar restrictions on hundreds of other products in the Western U.S. over the next few years.
Read the full petition announcement.
Read the rulemaking petition text.
Learn more about the Endangered Species Act and the EPA's proposed plans.