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Agriculture: News 2015

This information is provided for reference. Over time, links to news items may become unavailable, in these cases the item will remain listed, but no link will be provided. Also, please be aware that the information in any particular article may be outdated or superseded by additional information.

November 18, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $30,000 Environmental Justice Small Grant to the Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help (REACH) in Warsaw, N.C. REACH was one of just 40 non-profit and tribal organizations selected to receive nearly $1.2 million in competitive grants to address environmental justice (EJ) issues nationwide. The grants enable these organizations to conduct research, provide education, and develop solutions to local health and environmental issues in minority and low-income communities overburdened by harmful pollution.

November 12, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pork and dairy producers, and environmental and scientific experts to launch the Nutrient Recycling Challenge, a competition to develop affordable technologies that recycle nutrients from livestock waste.

Every year, livestock producers manage more than one billion tons of manure, which contains valuable nutrients – nitrogen and phosphorus – that plants need to grow. Challenge participants will develop technologies that extract nutrients from livestock manure to generate products with environmental and economic benefits that farmers can use or sell.

November 9, 2015

EPA officials will be available for interviews at the annual National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) Trade Talk event at the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City, Mo., on Thursday, Nov. 12.

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October 20, 2015

On Tuesday, October 20th, U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and United Farm Workers of America (UFW) president, Arturo Rodriguez, will participate in a farm tour and a meeting with farm workers at Pacific Triple E Farm to discuss stronger protections for agricultural workers under the recently updated Worker Protection Standard (WPS).

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September 28, 2015

“President Obama has called closing gaps of opportunity a defining challenge of our time. Meeting that challenge means ensuring healthy work environments for all Americans, especially those in our nation’s vulnerable communities,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “We depend on farmworkers every day to help put the food we eat on America’s dinner tables—and they deserve fair, equitable working standards with strong health and safety protections. With these updates we can protect workers, while at the same time preserve the strong traditions of our family farms and ensure the continued the growth of our agricultural economy.”

September 24, 2015

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule to modernize Clean Water Act reporting for municipalities, industries, and other facilities. The final rule will require regulated entities and state and federal regulators to use existing, available information technology to electronically report data required by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program instead of filing written paper reports

September 22, 2015

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced settlements with two associated companies for the improper storage and containment of agricultural pesticides. Fertizona, a large fertilizer and crop protection retailer, and Compton Ag Services operate six facilities in Arizona and California subject to the enforcement actions. They have agreed to pay a total of $133,240 in civil penalties.

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August 31, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it has completed an evaluation of West Virginia’s animal agriculture regulations and programs. The assessment, which is one of six that the agency is conducting of state animal agriculture programs in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, found that West Virginia is relying heavily on programs with voluntary participation to increase the implementation of conservation practices to meet water quality goals.

EPA conducts periodic reviews of state programs as part of its oversight responsibilities under the Clean Water Act. This assessment looked at West Virginia’s implementation of federal and state regulatory programs, as well as voluntary incentive-based programs to meet the nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution reduction commitments in its Watershed Implementation Plan under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load or TMDL.

August 31, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it has completed an evaluation of Delaware’s animal agriculture regulations and programs. The assessment is one of six that the agency is conducting of state animal agriculture programs within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

EPA conducts periodic reviews of state programs as part of its oversight responsibilities under the Clean Water Act. This assessment looked at Delaware’s implementation of federal and state regulatory programs, as well as voluntary incentive-based programs to meet the nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution reduction commitments in its Watershed Implementation Plan under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load or TMDL.

August 31, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it has completed an evaluation of Maryland’s animal agriculture regulations and programs. The assessment, which is one of six that the agency is conducting of state animal agriculture programs within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, found that Maryland has a robust and well-implemented state program.

EPA conducts periodic reviews of state programs as part of its oversight responsibilities under the Clean Water Act. This assessment looked at Maryland’s implementation of federal and state regulatory programs, as well as voluntary incentive-based programs to meet the nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution reduction commitments in its Watershed Implementation Plan under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load or TMDL.

August 5, 2015

EPA Proposes Stronger Standards for People Applying the Pesticides with the Greatest Risk/ Improved training and minimum age requirements for certified applicators will help protect people and the environment.

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing stronger standards for pesticide applicators who apply “restricted-use” pesticides. These pesticides are not available for purchase by the general public, require special handling, and may only be applied by a certified applicator or someone working under his or her direct supervision.

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July 16, 2015

(Lenexa, Kan., July 16, 2015) - In a settlement agreement with EPA Region 7 filed today, Wilbur-Ellis Company has agreed to pay a $67,404 civil penalty to settle alleged violations of the Clean Air Act at its fertilizer facilities in White Cloud, Troy, and Silver Lake, Kan. The company is also required to spend an additional $113,121 on emergency response equipment to complete a Supplemental Environmental Project, benefitting the Sedgwick Fire Department and Doniphan County.

EPA inspections revealed the company exceeded the threshold quantity of anhydrous ammonia in processes at each of the three facilities. This requires each facility to file a Risk Management Plan with EPA and implement a risk management program. The inspections also noted violations of the Clean Air Act’s Chemical Accident Prevention regulations at each facility.

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May 27, 2015

In an historic step for the protection of clean water, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army finalized the Clean Water Rule today to clearly protect from pollution and degradation the streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources. The rule ensures that waters protected under the Clean Water Act are more precisely defined and predictably determined, making permitting less costly, easier, and faster for businesses and industry. The rule is grounded in law and the latest science, and is shaped by public input. The rule does not create any new permitting requirements for agriculture and maintains all previous exemptions and exclusions.

May 6, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the availability of $13.5 million in grant funding to help governments and nonprofit organizations switch to cleaner diesel engines. Local governments, tribal agencies and nonprofits can win grants up to $2.14 million each. Eligible applicants include regional, state, local or tribal agencies, and port authorities with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality. Nonprofit organizations may apply if they provide pollution reduction or educational services to diesel fleet owners or if their principal purpose is promoting clean transportation or air quality.

May 5, 2015

EPA Identifies Misbranded Pesticide at Kansas City, Kan., Pesticide Distributor
Auto-Chlor System, LLC, a pesticide registrant and distributor headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., has agreed to pay a $6,750 civil penalty to the United States to settle allegations related to the sale and distribution of a misbranded pesticide. The violation occurred at a dealer facility located at 310 Kansas Ave. in Kansas City, Kan.

May 1, 2015

Dairy Company Owner Sentenced to Six Months of Home Detention and Ordered to Pay $15,000 Fine for Discharging 11,000 Gallons of Cow Feces into the French Broad River
The owner of one of North Carolina’s largest dairy farms located in Fletcher, N.C., was sentenced Thursday to four years of probation, six months of which he has to spend in home detention, for his role in the discharging of cow feces into the French Broad River, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis L. Howell also ordered him to pay a $15,000 fine. The dairy company, Tap Root Dairy, LLC (Tap Root), was also fined $80,000 and was placed on a four-year probationary term. The company is also required to abide by a comprehensive environmental compliance plan.

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April, 2015

April 2015 Newsletter Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center Exit
The April installment reminds about the webinar on manure & tile drainage. We also take a look at farming systems - especially on grazing strategies. Many minds are on spring manure application and nutrient management as well as the finalized "Waters of the U.S. Rule". Check out the Events section for many great gathering opportunities. 

April 30, 2015

EPA Issuing Interim Guidance Concerning Antimicrobial Data Requirements
Today, EPA is issuing interim guidance that clarifies EPA’s toxicology data requirements for antimicrobial pesticides used on food contact surfaces. In general, if pesticide residues in food resulting from use on food contact surfaces are 200 parts per billion (ppb) or less, EPA requires certain toxicology data. If residues are greater than 200 ppb, additional data may be required, depending on other conditions such as test results. The interim guidance clarifies that the 200 ppb trigger is based on total estimated daily dietary intake for an individual and not on the amount of residue present on a single food. This interpretation is consistent with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) policy.

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March 30, 2015

EPA Takes Action to Protect the Public from an Unregistered Pesticide / EPA issues order to stop the sale of BioStorm and NanoStrike
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued an order to Nano Defense Solutions, Inc. in Saint Augustine, Fla. to stop the sale of “BioStorm” and “NanoStrike.” BioStorm and NanoStrike are products that are being marketed by the company for use in sites that include hospitals and athletic facilities.

March 25, 2015

EPA Responds to Petition on Nanoscale Silver Regulation
EPA is granting some of the requests of the petition for Rulemaking on Nanoscale Silver filed by the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA) and 13 other organizations and denying others. The petition requested that EPA regulate products containing nanoscale silver as pesticides and assess them as new and different from macrosilver products.

March, 2015

March Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center Newsletter Exit
The March issue features our April webinar on manure application over tile drainage. There is also a final registration reminder for the Waste to Worth conference. "Around the Horns" features information on regulations, nutrient management, pathogens and pharmaceuticals, and much more.

March 20, 2015

Pesticide News Story: Contending with Vertebrate Pests around Schools – EPA Webinar, March 31
EPA’s Center of Expertise for School Integrated Pest Management (IPM) will host a webinar, “Contending with Vertebrate Pests around Schools,” on March 31 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. Eastern Time. This webinar will present the challenges that large vertebrate pests present, followed by a discussion on tried-and-true ways to deter pests such as squirrels, raccoons, foxes, deer, and feral cats from school grounds. The webinar will feature: Stephen Van Tassel, Ph.D., Author, Consultant, and Wildlife Expert, University of Nebraska Mark Hardin, IPM Specialist, Howard County (Maryland) Public School System Marcia Anderson, Ph.D., EPA’s Center of Expertise for School IPM

March 19, 2015

Pesticide News Story: Poison Prevention Starts with You – Protect Your Kids and Pets
In honor of Poison Prevention Week, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission Elliot Kaye have co-authored a blog post to remind us of how easy it is to prevent poisonings at home. With an estimated 80,000 children going to the emergency room each year due to poisons, these simple steps to poison-proof your home are real life savers. Help spread the word about Poison Prevention Week by sharing our blog post and messages through social media, listservs, and other outreach opportunities: Read the blog: https://blog.epa.gov/epaconnect/2015/03/poison-prevention-starts-with-you-protect-your-kids-and-pets/

March 17, 2015

Pesticide News Story: EPA Extends Comment Period for Proposed Framework to Prevent Corn Rootworm Resistance
Today EPA is extending for 30 days the comment period on a proposed framework intended to delay the corn rootworm from becoming resistant to Bt pesticides produced by genetically engineered corn. This extension is in response to several stakeholders’ requests for additional time to develop comments. By extending the comment period EPA hopes to ensure that all stakeholders have ample opportunity to participate.
The proposed framework includes requirements on the manufacturers of Bt corn including:

  • In areas at risk of corn rootworm resistance, require crop rotation, use of corn varieties containing more than one Bt toxin, or other Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies and stewardship for corn rootworm.
  • Develop and implement a strategy to better detect and address areas of resistance as they emerge.
  • Use different and improved scientific tests and sampling requirements to study the problem and more reliably ensure that resistance to the Bt corn toxin is identified. 

March 16, 2015

EPA Issues Report on Virginia Animal Agriculture Programs
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it has completed an evaluation of Virginia’s animal agriculture programs. The assessment is one of six that the agency is conducting of state animal agriculture programs within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. EPA conducts periodic reviews of state programs as part of its oversight responsibilities under the Clean Water Act. EPA’s assessment evaluated Virginia’s implementation of programs to ensure reductions in the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution going to waterways within the Bay Watershed, as called for under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load or TMDL. The assessment looked at Virginia’s implementation of federal and state regulatory programs, as well as voluntary incentive-based programs to meet the nutrient and sediment reduction commitments in its TMDL Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP).

EPA Issues Report on Pennsylvania Animal Agriculture Programs
March 16, 2015) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it has completed an evaluation of Pennsylvania’s animal agriculture programs. The assessment is one of six that the agency is conducting of state animal agriculture programs within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. EPA conducts periodic reviews of state programs as part of its oversight responsibilities under the Clean Water Act. EPA’s assessment evaluated Pennsylvania’s implementation of programs to reduce the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution going to waterways within the Bay Watershed, as called for under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load or TMDL. The assessment looked at the Commonwealth’s implementation of federal and state regulatory programs, as well as voluntary incentive-based programs to meet the nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment reduction commitments in its TMDL Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP).

Data Sharing Memorandum of Understanding between EPA and FDA
EPA and the Food and Drug Administration are pleased to announce a Memorandum of Understanding to share data on pesticides and toxic substances. This sharing of information will better inform both agencies’ assessments of the risks to the public and the environment. FDA and EPA have complementary roles in their regulatory authority for some substances incorporated into food (including animal food and feed), animal drugs, and cosmetics. FDA is responsible for protecting and promoting the public health by ensuring, among other things, the safety of food (including animal food and feed), animal drugs, and cosmetics by enforcing the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and several related public health laws. EPA is responsible for managing the pesticides and toxic substances programs under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, the FD&C Act, and the Toxic Substances Control Act. The MOU establishes a process of disclosure and sharing of their respective databases that will facilitate the decisions of each agency related to food safety, veterinary medications, and cosmetics. This data sharing will provide the most up-to-date information and assist in coordinating reviews between agencies.

March 13, 2015

Pesticide News Story: EPA Extending Comment Period on Chlorpyrifos Risk Assessment until April 30, 2015 
EPA is extending the comment period on the revised human health risk assessment on chlorpyrifos by 45 days. The comment period will now close on April 30, 2015. To submit comments, go to docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0850 at www.regulations.gov.
A number of commenters requested an extension to the comment period. EPA agreed to extend the comment period because of the complexity and length of the risk assessment. This revised human health risk assessment is one of the first assessments informed by physiologically based pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic (PBPK/PD) model  and a new drinking water watershed approach.

March 12, 2015

EPA Registers New Miticide to Combat Varroa Mites in Bees
EPA is registering a new miticide, oxalic acid, to combat the devastating effects of the Varroa mite on honey bee colonies. Oxalic acid is currently registered for this use in Canada and Europe. Recognizing beekeepers’ need for additional registered tools to combat the Varroa mite in U.S. honey bee colonies, the EPA collaborated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the registration. 
Consistent with President Obama’s 2014 initiative on pollinator health, which instructed the EPA to expedite review of registration applications for new products targeting pests harmful to pollinators, OPP expedited the review of the application. EPA was able to expedite its evaluation in part due to a NAFTA “work share” agreement, which allowed Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency to share their data reviews with EPA risk assessors and risk managers. Oxalic acid was registered in Canada for in-hive control of Varroa mites in 2010. EPA also had an established database of oxalic acid studies from its previous registration as an antimicrobial pesticide.

EPA Administrator to Speak at National Farmers Union Convention in Wichita, Kan.
On Monday, March 16, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will speak at the National Farmers Union (NFU) Convention in Wichita, Kan., about the need to protect the waters that matter most and the important outreach and feedback we’ve received from NFU. From manufacturing and brewing to farming and ranching, American businesses can’t function without clean water and one in three Americans get their drinking water from streams and wetlands that lack clear protection from pollution. EPA is committed to finalizing a Clean Water Rule that keeps the exclusions and exemptions for agriculture and reflects the input from our public comment period.

March 10, 2015

Nominations to the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee Open until April 16, 2015
EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs is currently accepting nominations for the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee (PPDC). A federal advisory committee, PPDC provides advice and recommendations to the EPA on issues associated with pesticide regulatory development and reform initiatives, evolving public policy and program implementation issues, and science issues associated with evaluating and reducing risks from use of pesticides.

March 9, 2015

EPA Reaches Settlement on Legal Challenge to Updated Data Requirements for Registration of Antimicrobial Pesticides
EPA and the American Chemistry Council have reached a settlement agreement that addresses ACC’s petition for judicial review of EPA’s updated 40 CFR Part 158W data requirements for antimicrobial pesticides. Among the provisions of the settlement agreement, EPA will issue a proposed guidance document, “Antimicrobial Pesticide Use Site Index,” for public comment on the schedule included in the settlement agreement. The site index will include a compilation of existing antimicrobial pesticide use sites and identify how each use site fits within the 12 use patterns established in the regulation. This guidance document will help prospective registrants by making it easier for them to identify which data are necessary to register their product(s).

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February, 2015

February Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center Newsletter 
February's newsletter encourages you to get registered for Waste to Worth; and highlights two webcasts in back-to-back weeks. One is on unintended consequences of gypsum bedding in dairies and the other is novel animal housing. The topics are heavy on regulation and policy news, and also include nutrient management and tile drainage. Animal welfare information was also plentiful. We round it out with antibiotic resistance and feedlot dust, avian influenza, and a long list of great events and happenings.

February 27, 2015

Pesticide News Story: Poison Control and Pesticide Information Organizations Collaborate to Strengthen Pesticide Safety and Education
On February 23, 2015, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), which supports the work of the nation’s 55 poison control centers, and the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC), a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Oregon State University, announced that they have teamed up to focus on pesticide safety and education. The two organizations will bring their collective expertise and experience to developing bilingual health and safety educational materials for the general public related to pesticides such as antimicrobials, herbicides, and insecticides.

Pesticide News Story: Redesigned Website for Analytical Methods and Procedures for Pesticides Moved
We have redesigned our Analytical Methods and Procedures for Pesticides website to make it more user-friendly and easier for visitors to quickly find information, regardless of the device used (for example, laptop, tablet or smartphone). The website highlights the following topic areas:

  • An overview of EPA pesticide laboratories, which provide a variety of technical services to the agency, other federal and state agencies, tribal groups and other organizations.
  • Information on the National Pesticide Standards Repository, an inventory of analytical standards of registered pesticides in the United States.
  • Antimicrobial testing methods and procedures, used to measure the effectiveness of pesticides against public health pests on hard surfaces.
  • Environmental chemistry methods, used to identify the fate and transport of pesticides in water, soil and air.
  • Residue analytical methods, used to detect pesticide residues in food, feed and animal commodities and support the enforcement of legal residue limits, known as tolerances.

February 26, 2015

Inspection Reveals Pesticide Violations at Quest Products LLC of Linwood, Kan.
An inspection of Quest Products LLC of Linwood, Kan., by the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) in August 2013 revealed violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), EPA Region 7 announced today. Quest Products LLC has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $88,533 related to the sale or distribution of unregistered and misbranded pesticides. In March of 2012, EPA accepted a new pesticide registration which had been submitted by Quest for a product called Reliant Systemic Fungicide. In support of its registration application, Quest attested that it would be using a previously registered source for the active ingredient. Specifically, Quest claimed its product would be a 100 percent repack of another registrant’s product.

February 25, 2015

Pesticide News Story: Updated Registration Review Schedule Now Available
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued an updated schedule for the Pesticide Registration Review program, covering planned reviews through 2017. Through the Pesticide Registration Review program, EPA reviews all registered pesticides at least every 15 years, as mandated by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.  The updated schedule gives a timetable for opening dockets for the next three years – from now through the end of fiscal year 2017 (September 2017).  The schedule reflects the Agency’s plan that by October 1, 2022, all pesticides that were registered as of October 1, 2007, will have been reviewed, marking the end of the first 15-year cycle.  With the exception of a small number of biopesticides, the docket openings being announced in this notice represent the last group to begin the process. With these, all pesticides registered as of October 1, 2007, will have entered the registration review process.

February 18, 2015

U.S. Department of State and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Launch Innovative International Air Quality Program: FACT SHEET
Secretary of State John Kerry and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signed a statement of intent today to launch a new air quality partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The effort will provide U.S. citizens and government personnel with better information on air quality at select embassies and consulates around the world to reduce health risks from outdoor air pollution, and will offer greater opportunities for the United States to create partnerships on air quality with other nations.

February 13, 2015

Climate Action Plan Toolkit: EPA Releases Stormwater Climate Change Tool 
As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan Virtual Climate Resilience Toolkit, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the release of the Climate Adjustment Tool for EPA’s Stormwater Management Model – a widely-used, downloadable online stormwater simulation model. The Climate Adjustment Tool allows engineers and planners to evaluate the performance of water infrastructure while considering future climate change projections, such as more frequent high-intensity storms and changes in evaporation rates of seasonal precipitation, to determine the benefits of resiliency decisions to reduce local economic burden and protect communities.

February 10, 2015

Dealing with Nuisance Birds around Schools -- February 24
On Tuesday, February 24, from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time, EPA’s Center of Expertise for School Integrated Pest Management (IPM) will host a webinar titled “Dealing with Nuisance Birds around Schools.”

February 05, 2015

Pesticide News Story: Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee Webinar: February 25, 2015
EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs will hold a webinar for the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee (PPDC) on Wednesday, February 25, 2015, from 1:00-2:30 EST. During the webinar, EPA will provide brief updates on a few key issues for 2015. The public is welcome to listen to the updates. A draft agenda is available on the PPDC website.

February 04, 2015

EPA Applauds SCDHEC, Farmers and Landowners for Improving Water Quality in the Enoree River Watershed
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) commends the efforts of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), farmers, and landowners for improving water quality in the Enoree River watershed. Two out of six places in the river and its tributaries are now meeting the state’s bacteria water quality standard for the first time since the late ‘90s. Upon project completion, SCDHEC tested the water quality of six testing stations on the Enoree River and its tributaries for the state’s 2014 CWA Water Quality Assessment. SCDHEC found that all stations show improvement for fecal coliform bacteria. Two of the testing stations now meet water quality standards and are classified as fully supporting (not impaired) for recreational uses. SCDHEC data also showed reductions in bacteria violations at four other stations in the Lower Enoree River watershed.

February 03, 2015

Pesticide News Story: Pesticide News Story: New Blog Post - Farmers Shift Towards Biopesticides 
Did you know that the use of biopesticides has more than quadrupled since 2000? Made from naturally occurring substances derived from animals, plants, bacteria, fungi and minerals, biopesticides are used as safer alternatives to controlling pests and are frequently part of Integrated Pest Management plans. In his new blog post, Farmers Shift Towards Virtually Non-Toxic Alternatives for Pest Control, EPA Assistant Administrator Jim Jones discusses the importance of biopesticides and why their increased use is good for people and the environment.

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January 30, 2015

EPA to Update Community on Toms River, NJ Superfund Site; EPA and National Toxicology Program scientists to Discuss Study of SAN Trimer 
On February 4, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold a public meeting to discuss how a new scientific study about a previously unknown contaminant relates to the ongoing cleanup at the Reich Farm Superfund site in Toms River formerly Dover, Ocean County, NJ. The EPA will be joined by scientists from the National Toxicology Program to discuss the study. EPA does not plan to make any changes to the groundwater treatment system currently operating at the site, but does intend to make adjustments to the cleanup goals based on the new information. The meeting will take place on Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 6:00 pm at the Ocean County Library Toms River Branch, 101 Washington Street, Toms River, NJ.

Minimum Risk Pesticide Web Information Updated and Expanded
As part of EPA’s ongoing effort to build a more user-friendly website, we have transformed our Minimum Risk Pesticides website into a new, easy-to-use format. Information should now be easier to access regardless of the type of device being used (for example, laptop, tablet, or smart phone). The new site highlights the most-requested information and has been redesigned based on historic website traffic, with a focus on stakeholders who are interested in manufacturing, selling or distributing minimum risk pesticides. Minimum risk pesticides are those pesticides that EPA has determined pose little to no risk to human health or the environment and are therefore exempted from the requirement that they be registered under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

An Easier Way to Find Your Pesticide Program Contacts
Finding program contact information for EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs just got easier. We have launched a new Pesticide Contacts and Organization Information website to serve as a hub to find regional and headquarters contacts, hotlines, organizational charts, and visitor information. This website is part of EPA’s effort to design easy-to-use Web content that can be viewed on all devices, including tablets and smartphones.

Pesticide Web Apps Now Available from NPIC
The National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) has developed four mobile Web applications (apps) to help consumers and pesticide applicators quickly find pest control solutions, insect repellents, and other information on pesticides when they are on the go. The apps work within most smart phone and tablet browsers, making it easier for users to get this important information when they aren’t at a computer.

January 29, 2015

EPA Announces Voluntary Cancellation of Certain Methomyl Uses
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the manufacturers of the insecticide methomyl have agreed to cancel some uses and limit use on certain crops to reduce risks to drinking water. From 1995 to 2013, exposure from food to carbamates, which includes methomyl, has fallen by approximately 70 percent. Today’s action is a continuation of EPA’s efforts to reduce carbamate use, thereby protecting people’s health, especially the health of children who may be more sensitive to pesticides.

January 28, 2015

EPA Proposes Framework to Prevent Corn Rootworm Resistance
Today, EPA is seeking public comment on a proposed framework intended to delay the corn rootworm pest becoming resistant to corn genetically engineered to produce Bt pesticides.  The Agency is open to suggestions for alternative approaches that would achieve this objective. The proposed framework includes requirements on the manufacturers of Bt corn including:

  • In areas at risk of corn rootworm resistance, require crop rotation; use of corn varieties containing more than one Bt toxin; or other Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies and stewardship for corn rootworm.
  • Develop and implement a strategy to better detect and address areas of resistance as they emerge.
  • Use different and improved scientific tests and sampling requirements to study the problem and more reliably ensure that resistance to the Bt corn toxin is identified. 

January 27, 2015

TODAY: EPA Administrator to Keynote National Council for Science and the Environment Conference
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy will give a keynote address today at the 15th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy, and the Environment hosted by the National Council for Science and the Environment. Administrator McCarthy will discuss the cost of climate inaction and will address how climate actions, such as the Clean Power Plan, will drive innovation, spur opportunity, and create a clean energy economy.

January 21, 2015

EPA Registers New Insecticide Alternative to Neonicotinoids, Safer for Bees
The EPA is registering a new insecticide, flupyradifurone, that is safer for bees. It is expected to be an alternative to more toxic products including certain pyrethroid, neonicotinoid, organophosphate and avermectin insecticides. As an insecticide, flupyradifurone is unusual in that laboratory-based studies indicate that the compound is practically non-toxic to adult honeybees. Studies show no adverse effect on overall bee colony performance or overwintering ability when compared to untreated colonies. EPA’s decision meets the rigorous Food Quality Protection Act standard of "reasonable certainty of no harm" to human health. On the basis of protective and conservative human health and ecological risk assessments for the uses of the pesticide, EPA confirmed the safety of the use for the public, agricultural workers and wildlife. EPA coordinated its evaluation with our counterparts in Canada and Australia.

January 20, 2015

Pesticide News Story: NMFS Issues Final Biological Opinion for Three Pesticides 
On January 20, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued its final Biological Opinion concerning the potential effects of the pesticides diflubenzuron, fenbutatin oxide and propargite on federally listed threatened and endangered Pacific salmon and steelhead and their designated critical habitat.

EPA Administrator at X Games to Focus on Economic and Environmental Need to Act on Climate
On Thursday, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will join the X Games in Aspen, Colo., to bring attention to the extreme weather impacts of climate change. A strong economy and a strong environment go hand in hand, which makes acting on climate necessary to protect tourism, recreation and the outdoor industry. Administrator McCarthy will hold a press conference with CEO of Aspen Skiing Company, Mike Kaplan and Winter Olympians, Gretchen Bleiler and Alex Deibold to talk about how climate risks are economic risks. She will focus on the need to act now to spur clean energy and reduce carbon pollution to protect communities and the outdoor industry from economic and environmental impacts.

EPA, Southern Co. and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Recognize Five Star and Urban Waters Projects in the Southeast
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Southern Company met with 2013 Five Star and Urban Waters Program awardees to recognize and highlight their work to restore streams and watersheds.

January 15, 2015

EPA’s Actions to Restrict PFOA and Similar Chemicals Yield Significant Human Health and Environmental Benefits
To further agency and industry achievements, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed measures to ensure that perfluorinated chemicals that have been phased out do not re-enter the marketplace without review.
”Through our environmental stewardship program, eight companies have helped us make real progress to reduce these chemicals as evidenced in the CDC findings” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “We will continue that progress now that all importers and other domestic manufacturers will be required to give EPA an opportunity to review and restrict uses of these perfluorinated chemicals.”

January 14, 2015

EPA Releases 2013 Toxics Release Inventory National Analysis
From 2012 to 2013, the amount of toxic chemicals managed as waste by the nation's industrial facilities increased by 4 percent. This increase includes the amount of chemicals recycled, treated, and burned for energy recovery, as well as the amount disposed of or otherwise released into the environment. In TRI, a "release" generally refers to a chemical that is emitted to the air, water, or placed in some type of land disposal. Most of these releases are subject to a variety of regulatory requirements designed to limit human and environmental harm.

January 9, 2015

New EPA Guidance Would Reduce Use of Lab Animals and Increase Relevant Acute Toxicity Data on Pesticides
In an effort to help expand the acceptance of alternative methods for acute toxicity testing, EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs has released a new draft guidance document. The agency is accepting comments on the draft guidance for 60 days, until March 10, 2015. With the rapid advances in science and continual development of new technologies, the EPA recognizes there is an increasing potential for the use of alternative methods in regulatory risk assessments.
The agency’s goals for alternative testing approaches include:

  • assessing a broader range and potentially more human-relevant adverse effects;
  • generating and reviewing data more quickly and less expensively; and
  • reducing use of laboratory animals in regulatory testing. 

January 7, 2015

Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee (FRRCC); Notice of Meeting
The Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee will convene on Wednesday, January 21, 2015, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and will reconvene Thursday, January 22, 2015, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time). One public comment period relevant to specific issues being considered by the FRRCC is scheduled for Thursday, January 22, 2015, from 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time). Members of the public who wish to participate during the public comment period are encouraged to pre-register by noon, (Eastern Standard Time), on Monday, January 12, 2015.

January 5, 2015

MEDIA ADVISORY: EPA Administrator to Visit Fresno, Phoenix for high-speed rail groundbreaking, American Meteorological Society annual meeting 
On Wednesday, Administrator McCarthy will travel to Phoenix, Ariz. for a Presidential Town Hall at the American Meteorological Society’s (AMS) 95th annual meeting. The growing body of science on climate change and extreme weather underpins President Obama's Climate Action Plan to build more resilient communities and curb the carbon pollution fueling climate change. With a science-driven mission to protect public health and the environment, EPA is taking first-ever action to cut carbon pollution from our largest source, power plants. Following her opening remarks, Administrator McCarthy will engage in a moderated discussion with AMS President Bill Gail.

EPA Revised Chlorpyrifos Assessment Shows Risk to Workers
Today, EPA is releasing an assessment for public comment on the potential for human health risk of the pesticide chlorpyrifos. This assessment shows some risks to workers who mix, load and apply chlorpyrifos pesticide products. When used in large amounts, chlorpyrifos has the potential to pose risks in limited geographic areas when drinking water from small watersheds. There were no additional risks from pesticide exposures in food or exposures to bystanders and workers from airborne chlorpyrifos. The latest USDA pesticide residue data show no concerns for chlorpyrifos in food, with the pesticide detected in less than 1% of samples.

EPA Awards PREP Grant to Washington State University
EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs, in partnership with the Office of Compliance, has awarded Washington State University in Pullman, WA the Pesticide Regulatory Education Program (PREP) grant. Through the grant, EPA expects to provide up to $535,000 annually for up to five years (fiscal years 2015 through 2019), subject to funding availability, satisfactory performance and other applicable considerations. The goal of the PREP program is to provide educational training to develop or enhance the abilities of states, tribes and territories to implement pesticide regulatory and enforcement programs or undertake new initiatives. The training includes pesticide program issues (e.g., water quality, pesticide product registration, applicator certification and training, worker safety), compliance and enforcement, and other support topics (e.g., risk communication, managerial and leadership training). The PREP training is intended for senior-level management with pesticide regulatory programs in states, tribes and U.S. territories working under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act Cooperative Agreement with EPA. PREP builds networks and collaborative working relationships among states, tribes, territories and EPA and other federal agencies to more effectively utilize limited resources.

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