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Public Participation Process for Registration Actions

March 31, 2010

Federal pesticide law only requires limited public participation in the pesticide registration process. In response to President Obama’s directive on transparency and open government, EPA’s Pesticide Program explored opportunities for expanding the openness of the process, and accordingly in October of 2009 began implementing a public participation process for certain registration actions.

By establishing this process, the Agency has increased opportunities for the public to comment on risk assessments and proposed registration actions. Both EPA and the public will benefit from a public participation process because the public will help to inform the risk assessment and risk management processes associated with registration. Such input can aid in understanding potential risks and benefits, contribute to meaningful protective measures, and improve the public dialogue on pesticide registration decisions.

Public Participation Process

The public participation process for registration actions provides a meaningful opportunity for the public to comment on major registration decisions at a point in the registration process when comprehensive information and analysis are available. The Agency intends to use the outlined public participation process for the following types of applications:

The new process was announced on October 1, 2009. The public participation process for registration consists of the steps identified below.

As this new process evolves, it is possible that some circumstances will require a departure from the typical process, but the Agency expects that any revisions to the process will result in improvements while continuing to allow for meaningful stakeholder involvement.

Confidential Business Information Concerns

Historically, much of the information submitted with pesticide applications was either claimed as Confidential Business Information (CBI), or its confidentiality status was unclear. The 2007 revision of 40 CFR 158.33 required all information submitted under part 158 (Data Requirements for Pesticides) to be clearly marked as confidential or be subject to public disclosure.

For any information in the risk assessment or final decision that is not submitted under part 158 and for which there is no indication whether the applicant claims the information as CBI, the risk manager will send a letter or e-mail to the registrant requesting a written response that clarifies what is being claimed as CBI. If the information was filed under part 158 but not claimed as CBI, then the information may be included in the risk assessment or decision document without further consultation with the applicant. The documents are reviewed for CBI before posting to the public docket.

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