08.19.21

Ranking Members Boozman, Thompson Express Concern with EPA’s Departure from Regulatory Process with Key Crop Protection Tool

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and U.S. Representative Glenn "GT" Thompson, Ranking Member, House Committee on Agriculture released the following statement expressing concern with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) departure from its scientific and regulatory review process:

“EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs has been the world’s gold standard of scientific integrity and regulatory review standards when it comes to registering crop protection tools. Unfortunately, EPA’s decision to remove certain tolerances for chlorpyrifos not only circumvented its own regulatory registration review process, but agency leadership also abdicated the work of their career professionals to a subset of activist judges,” Boozman said. “EPA’s decision not only undermines the scientifically rigorous work of the agency but also inserts a great deal of uncertainty for growers sending products into commerce in the next six months who may need to use this technology to combat significant pest stressors.”

“Yesterday’s decision tells me that the final word on what crop protection tools farmers may use stands not with science, but with the unelected and unaccountable activist judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The decision to allow the court system to overrule EPA’s rigorous, scientific pesticide registration process sets a dangerous precedent, threatens scientific integrity, and is of the utmost concern to U.S. farmers and ranchers who are already carrying the weight of fueling the nation in the wake of the global pandemic,” Thompson said.

Background

EPA first registered chlorpyrifos as a pesticide in 1965 for both agricultural and non-agricultural areas. Since then, EPA has reviewed chlorpyrifos several times for tolerance reassessment, reregistration, and registration review. In March 2017, EPA denied a petition seeking to revoke all pesticide tolerances (maximum residue levels in food) for chlorpyrifos and cancel all chlorpyrifos registrations.

In December 2020, EPA released the Proposed Interim Decision for the Registration Review of Chlorpyrifos for a 60-day public comment period. EPA also invited comments on the benefits assessments, the September 2020 revised human health risk assessment, draft ecological risk assessment and revised drinking water assessment.

Environmental advocacy groups challenged EPA’s denial orders in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. In April 2021, the 9th Circuit directed EPA to grant the petition, issue a final rule revoking or modifying the tolerances if EPA could determine the tolerances were safe, and to modify or cancel food-use registrations for chlorpyrifos under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

In August 2021, EPA released the Final Tolerance Rule for Chlorpyrifos, which revokes all tolerances for chlorpyrifos. EPA’s prepublication of the final rule and additional background information on chlorpyrifos can be found here.