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US lawmaker tables bill to rein EPA’s pesticide regulatory powers

08 August 2022 Akashpratim Mukhopadhyay

Republican Senator from the US state of Kansas, Roger Marshall, has introduced a bill that seeks to hold the country's EPA responsible for "restrictive" regulatory changes to pesticide use. The "EPA Transparency for Agriculture Products Act", if cleared, would force the EPA to consider the availability of "viable and affordable" alternatives to a product in case it plans a non-voluntary cancellation or revocation of a label.

In terms of pesticide reviews, the bill notes that the EPA's decision must be based on commercially available, and industry agronomic use data, while an agreed upon final review date can only be extended twice for a cumulative 120 days before the proposed label is deemed approved. At the same time, any non-voluntary final decision that makes a label more inhibitory must be delayed by a year to help users adjust to the changes.

Reforms have also been proposed for the judicial review of pesticide registrations, whereby courts would be forced to consider alternatives and postpone any product cancellation or revocation until after the following growing season.

Furthermore, Mr Marshall has sought the supervision of the USDA's chief economist, among other relevant authorities, to determine whether any decision or advice of the USDA's Science Advisory Panel could have an impact of over $100,000 on the agriculture industry. In fact, the Senator suggests that non-voluntary proposed decisions leading to stringent label amendments be cleared by the nation's Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is responsible for overseeing the performance of federal agencies.

The bill also observes that decisions on part of the EPA must be accompanied by "ample opportunity" for farmers, registrants and other stakeholders to engage with the Agency. It adds that US growers have been grappling with economic headwinds, including "record" inflation, and "broken" supply chains, which could be aggravated if the regulator limits traditional farming tools and methods.

Mr Marshall rates the Agency's use of the "best science possible" in its rulemaking as "vital" to ensure that pesticide users are not being subjected to "unnecessary, unscientific conditions".

Posted 08 August 2022 by Akashpratim Mukhopadhyay, Senior Journalist, Crop Science Market Reporting, S&P Global Commodity Insights



This article was published by S&P Global Commodity Insights and not by S&P Global Ratings, which is a separately managed division of S&P Global.

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