21 Sep EPA Announces Interim Decision on Crucial Crop Protection Tools
EPA announced the interim decision for atrazine last week, marking the end of the registration review process and clearing the way for continued use of a key herbicide for Kansas farmers.
The Kansas Corn Growers Association (KCGA) is a founding member of the Triazine Network, a coalition of organizations from a variety of crops across the nation that advocates for science-based regulatory decisions for the triazine herbicides. KCGA CEO Greg Krissek said today’s announcement is a positive step forward for atrazine, a product that provides needed weed control and is a valued tool in conservation tillage practices like no-till farming.
Krissek and Missouri Corn CEO Gary Marshall, who are co-chairs of the Triazine Network, participated in a roundtable with EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler last week near Springfield, MO.
“We were pleased with the announcement at today’s roundtable discussion with Administrator Wheeler which affirmed the continued use of atrazine as well as simazine and propazine. This is a culmination of years of work,” Krissek said. “The next step for atrazine is the Endangered Species Act review, and we will continue to work with EPA as the agency prepares its biological evaluation for the ESA review that is expected to be published with a comment period this fall. Our organizations will remain closely involved in these regulatory actions surrounding atrazine and the triazine herbicides.”
The registration review has been underway since 2013, and this decision is a positive outcome for growers.
“Today’s news provides much needed regulatory certainty for farmers during a time when few things are certain,” said Triazine Network Co-Chair Gary Marshall. “We appreciate today’s announcement from EPA Administrator Wheeler. We thank the agency on behalf of the farmers who rely on atrazine to fight problematic weeds and employ conservation tillage methods to reduce soil erosion and improve water and wildlife habitat.”
Atrazine ranks second in widely used herbicides that help farmers control weeds that rob crops of water and nutrients. Utilized for over 60 years, atrazine is the most researched herbicide in history and has a proven safety record. Today’s announcement concludes the registration review process where EPA is required to periodically re-evaluate existing pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The next step for the triazines is a draft biological evaluation required under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which is expected to be published in October.
“This isn’t the last review of atrazine. In fact, the Endangered Species Act review will be key to the future of atrazine as well as other crop protection tools. Moving forward, we remain vigilant in ensuring the agencies involved utilize high-quality, scientific studies,” stated Marshall. “The EPA has said they will utilize the best available research, first in a letter the Triazine Network in 2019 and again today. Our stance has always been sound, credible science must win. We appreciate these commitments, and EPA must hold true to them in the ESA evaluation.”
Approved for use 1958, atrazine has been extensively reviewed by EPA and others over the decades and across administrations. The final ESA assessment is slated to be released in 2021.