Pesticide News Story: New Process Gives Stakeholders More Opportunities for Input in Pesticide Registration Reviews and Endangered Species Act Consultations
For Release: March 27, 2013
The EPA is making significant changes in the pesticide registration review process under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to enhance opportunities for stakeholder input and improve coordination across federal agencies during associated Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultations. These changes are discussed in the final paper, “Enhancing Stakeholder Input in the Pesticide Registration Review and ESA Consultation Processes and Development of Economically and Technologically Feasible Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives.” Jointly developed by the EPA, the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the National Marine Fisheries and Fish and Wildlife Services (known collectively as the Services), the final paper reflects comments received on a proposed version issued in August 2012. Both the proposed and final documents are available in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2012-0442 at www.regulations.gov.
The EPA, USDA and the Services intend the changes to result in greater openness and transparency in pesticide registration reviews and ESA consultations. The changes described in the final paper and summarized below are based on considerable dialogue with the Services, USDA, and stakeholders on how to improve those processes.
- The EPA will hold “Focus” meetings at the start of registration review for each pesticide active ingredient to clarify current uses and label directions and to consider the potential for minimizing exposures and reducing risk early.
- The EPA will initiate any needed formal ESA consultations at a later stage in the registration review process. Consulting later in the process allows the EPA to develop more refined ecological risk assessments and to engage stakeholders in discussions that should result in more focused consultation packages that include risk mitigation for listed species.
- During comment periods on draft biological opinions, the EPA will reach out to potentially affected pesticide users to discuss the technical and economic feasibility of reasonable and prudent alternatives intended to avoid jeopardy to threatened or endangered species. USDA’s relationships with the agricultural community will be invaluable in making these connections.
- The EPA will collect and organize comments on draft biological opinions and provide them to the Services. The Services will prepare a document to be included in the administrative record of the consultation explaining how the comments were considered, and as appropriate, how the biological opinion was modified to address the comments.
For further information, please visit the EPA’s pesticide Registration Review and Endangered Species Protection Program Web pages. The Federal Register Notice announcing the availability of these documents published on March 27, 2013, and is available in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2012-0442 at www.regulations.gov.