Fully funded pesticide regulation has been a priority for RISE, with significant progress made on increasing funding for the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This work will help bring pest management professionals (PMPs) innovative new products and new uses for existing products.
For RISE, much of 2022 was dedicated to passing reauthorization of the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA 5) for the fifth time since 2004 (Editor’s Note: For more on this topic, see Pest Management Professional’s November 2022 issue, p. 20). This year, our efforts are focused on securing PRIA funding for OPP through federal appropriations at a minimum of $166 million.
In addition to our work on appropriations, we continue to hold FIFRA 101 meetings to educate members of Congress and their staffs about pesticide regulation as it relates to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is active in these educational sessions, too.
Endangered species assessments
Another focus is the EPA’s process for conducting Endangered Species Act (ESA) assessments, with reviews now happening earlier in the pesticide registration process. In November, the EPA published its ESA Workplan, detailing some of the types of mitigation measures it will place on pesticide labels when registering a pesticide.
Our concern is that those proposed for agricultural applications cannot always be applied to specialty applications; a one-size-fits-all approach is neither appropriate nor desirable to achieve ESA objectives.
PMPs can play an important role in this evolving process by commenting during open regulatory dockets so the EPA can think about how mitigations impact end users. This helps ensure mitigations for products with agricultural and specialty uses are appropriate to the end use of the product.
Maine as the canary in the coal mine
In March, we had the opportunity to discuss issues related to fluorinated chemistry and new regulatory requirements in Maine with NPMA members during its Legislative Day activities.
The takeaway from Maine is that fluorinated chemistry — and products containing it — will be banned on Jan. 1, 2030, either through Maine’s Board of Pesticides or through its Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Unfortunately, EPA-assessed and -registered pesticides are included in both agencies’ regulations.
We are working to prevent similar legislation from being introduced, and are seeking exemption from all-encompassing laws as a scientifically regulated industry. We have had several state-level legislative successes so far in 2023 by educating policymakers about the rigorous process for pesticide assessment and registration. Today, the call to action for PMPs is to become aware of this issue and to look for news about new developments from the NPMA and RISE.