EPA Moves to End Chlorpyrifos Use on National Scale

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Regulation

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken action to prohibit chlorpyrifos use on a national level. A Final Rule was recently issued to revoke all tolerances of the pesticide. California and other states have already implemented similar restrictions for the material. The announcement has raised several questions from multiple agricultural groups including the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA).

Chlorpyrifos Use

“Farmers and ranchers care deeply about the quality of our crops – nothing is more important than producing safe, nutritious food. So, we must be guided by the most reliable determinant of safety, which is science. This administration has repeatedly made commitments to abide by science, yet the EPA decision on chlorpyrifos strays from that commitment and takes away an important tool to manage pests and insects,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a press release. “We urge EPA officials not to make determinations on pesticides outside of the regular registration review process already underway. The integrity of the registration review process and commitment to using sound science must be prioritized in a decision of such far-reaching consequences.”

The action comes after a recent decision issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The ruling dictated that EPA must either revoke chlorpyrifos tolerances in food or issue new findings demonstrating the materials’ safety. Environmental groups have been pushing to limit or prohibit chlorpyrifos use for several years. Concerns have been raised as to how this decision might affect crop protection materials moving forward.

“Not only is this an unjustified usurpation of the Agency’s authority and expertise, but canceling tolerances for a product that remains registered for use creates uncertainty for users. The product is legal to apply for its registered use, but any residue means that the product that the application protected cannot be sold,” said ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock. “By issuing this mandate, and EPA not fighting it, anti-pesticide activists have executed an end run around the statute that is supposed to govern these decisions. It’s a disturbing precedent from an Agency publicly committed to science-based decisions.”

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West