Wednesday, March 08, 2017

EPA budget cuts could lead to longer delays in pesticides being approved

Proposed budget and employee cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency could have the opposite effect of aligning with the Trump Administration's goal of reducing regulatory burdens, Marc Heller reports for Greenwire. Cutting EPA's budget by 25 percent and its employees by 20 percent would mean fewer employees, leading to delays in actions such as pesticide approvals that farmers and agribusinesses are anxiously waiting on.

"All registered pesticides are required under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act to undergo reviews by EPA every 15 years," Heller writes. "As of last year, the agency reported more than 700 registration review cases involving more than 1,000 active ingredients; more than 500 cases were in 'active review.' New chemicals undergo extensive reviews by the agency before they can be registered, as well."

Ethan Mathews, director of public policy for the National Corn Growers Association, which represents 40,000 farmers nationwide, says reviews of new pesticides can take as long as 11 years, Heller writes. Beau Greenwood, executive vice president of government relations and public affairs at CropLife America, a trade association for pesticide-makers and distributors, said EPA "already doesn't have enough employees to carry out registration reviews in a timely manner. He said his organization has visited with EPA staff and doesn't have a clear idea what the administration plans but that sticking to the Trump team's mantra of more efficient regulation will be the selling point for staving off cuts." (Read more)

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