EPA Releases Final Guidance for Pesticide Submissions for New Outdoor Uses that Require Endangered Species Act Reviews
Released on December 14, 2023
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released final guidance to pesticide registrants to improve the efficiency of EPA’s Endangered Species Act (ESA) analyses for new outdoor uses of existing conventional pesticides and biopesticide active ingredients. This guidance fulfills requirements outlined in the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act of 2022 (PRIA 5) and furthers goals outlined in EPA’s 2022 ESA Workplan to protect listed species from exposure to pesticides.
Among other requirements, PRIA 5 mandates that EPA develop and issue guidance to registrants regarding analyses necessary to support the evaluation of potential adverse effects from new outdoor uses of pesticide products on listed species and their designated critical habitats. The guidance must cover new outdoor uses of conventional pesticides and biopesticides. PRIA 5 specifies that the final guidance be available for public comment and be finalized within 12 months of PRIA 5 issuance.
The information contained in this guidance is largely the same as that contained in the PRIA 5 guidance for new active ingredients and registration review. The reason is that even though a new active ingredient application and a new outdoor use application are different actions, the underlying ESA analyses are similar.
From September 21st to October 16th, EPA took public comment on the draft guidance and received eight comments from stakeholders including pesticide registrants, commodity groups, and environmental organizations. EPA considered these public comments before finalizing the guidance, but no significant changes were made.
Although this document does not create new requirements for applicants, its recommendations will help applicants address potential effects to listed species for new outdoor uses of existing pesticide active ingredients. In particular, the recommendations focus on actions that applicants can voluntarily pursue to inform their proposed mitigation measures for listed species. These actions include identifying where a pesticide will be used, how species may be exposed to the pesticide, and how to select mitigation to reduce the exposure. If followed, these recommendations should expedite the review for new outdoor uses of existing conventional pesticides and biopesticide active ingredients under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and improve the efficiency of the overall ESA-FIFRA process.
EPA is prioritizing ESA assessments for new uses that involve genetically modified seeds and registered pesticides for which EPA has already met some or all of its ESA obligations for another use, but the Agency recognizes that the requirement to complete an ESA assessment applies to all new use submissions.