Spotlight on EPA Employees
I work in the Pesticides and Toxic Substances Branch in the EPA Region 2 satellite office located in Edison, NJ. Although I work in the Pesticides Program, my title is Regional Agriculture Policy Specialist. One of the challenges of this position is to chair the newly established Region 2 Agriculture Team. This cross-media team provides a point of contact for EPA programs/initiatives related to environmental issues in the agriculture sector. Part of our Mission Statement is to "partner with the agriculture community and other stakeholders for the express purpose of safeguarding human health and natural resources." Another exciting part of my job is to be the Region 2 FQPA/ Strategic Agriculture Coordinator. As the coordinator, one of my responsibilities is to serve as a Project Officer and manage grants which support innovative efforts that enable growers to decrease their reliance on agricultural chemicals while maintaining economical outcomes. These projects look for reduced-risk alternatives and ecologically-based integrated approaches to pest management. Working with a wide variety of people, (farmers, universities, State, and other Federal Agencies) makes this job interesting.
I work in the Registration Division which "registers" new pesticides and new uses of existing pesticides to ensure that they will not pose unreasonable risks to human health or the environment when used according to label directions. I review applications to register fungicides, plant growth regulators, and herbicides. OPP's decision on whether to register a pesticide is based on the evaluation of test data provided by pesticide manufacturers. As the North American Free Trade Agreement Act (NAFTA) Joint Review Program coordinator for the Registration Division, I jointly review registration applications on an ongoing basis with my Canadian and Mexican colleagues.
My division, the Special Review and Reregistration Division, reviews older pesticides for adherence to contemporary health and safety standards. As a Chemical Review Manager, I resolve environmental and human health risk issues and implement various mitigation measures to reduce unacceptable risks. Commitment to public participation and skills in oral and written communication are critical to my work as a risk manager. I ensure that all views are represented and that the resolution of risk issues is scientifically sound, economically feasible, and responsive to public expectations and values. As a liaison, I lead risk mitigation negotiations between the Agency and a variety of stakeholders to resolve differences concerning risk assessment and appropriate risk mitigation. When making regulatory decisions, I am required to weigh the results of risk assessments against social, economic, and political factors. My appreciation for the "big picture" is key.
I am EPA's lead scientist on pesticide resistance management and a Regulatory Action Leader in the Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division. I have given numerous speeches and written over a dozen articles on the subject of pesticide resistance management. As a Regulatory Action Leader, I coordinate all of the risk assessment and risk management activities associated with regulating a single pesticide. The challenge of this job is to bridge the science issues and make sound regulatory decisions. Prior to making a regulatory decision, I work with other scientists, managers, lawyers, policy makers, pesticide manufacturers, registrants, public interest groups, and grower organizations.
As an economist in the Biological and Economic Analysis Division, I develop economic analyses of regulatory policies -- or rules -- affecting pesticides. These analyses frame the economic evaluation in terms of benefits and costs. Benefits could include improvements to ground water, reduced health problems caused by exposure to pesticides, reduced damage to ecological resources, reduced cleanup costs in the future, and many more. Costs could include money spent by pesticide manufacturers, farmers, or other pesticide users to comply with new regulations.
As a Weed Scientist in the Biological and Economic Analysis Division, I provide technical information on weed control for regulatory decisions. I explain how a pesticide is used and determine the level of need for a pesticide within a certain market. This requires me to research weed control methods in a wide variety of situations. To do this, I consult published literature, interview pest control experts, and rely on personal experience.
As the Communications Officer for the Field and External Affairs Division, I look for creative ways to tell the world about the Office of Pesticide Programs. The challenge is taking issues that are heavy on science or policy and presenting them to a diverse audience, including the public, Congress, and other federal employees (both in EPA and elsewhere). I also spend time ensuring that EPA management is kept informed of our activities and are properly prepared when they have to explain those activities to external organizations and the media.