New Sen. Marshall Bill Aims to Maintain Availability of Vital Crop Protection Tools
(Washington, D.C., July 21, 2022) – Today, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D., introduced the EPA Transparency for Agriculture Products Act, a comprehensive bill to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from overregulating essential pesticides that the ag industry heavily depends upon. Specifically, this bill would take steps to ensure transparency and accountability within the EPA’s rulemaking process for pesticides.
“At a time when Kansas’ farmers and ranchers are coping with record inflation and broken supply chains, the last thing they need is the EPA revoking or severely limiting traditional farming tools and methods,” said Senator Marshall, “Access to safe, effective pesticides is vital for allowing farmers to continue to efficiently and sustainably feed, clothe, and fuel the world.”
“It’s simple, farmers need critical crop protection tools like glyphosate to feed the world. Farmers use it on 40% of all acres in the US and it enables more than $50 billion dollars of production annually. We appreciate this bill that will provide farmers with continued access to these and other crop protection tools prospectively,” said Teresa Brandenburg, Kansas Soybean Association President.
“Sorghum production was born from no-till farming in Kansas. For farmers to effectively use no-till practices they MUST have access to pesticides to control weeds, including Atrazine. Unfortunately, we’ve seen from this EPA a reluctance to recognize the importance of pesticides to no-till farming. Thank you, Senator Marshall, for introducing measures that direct EPA to ensure we can still access crop protection tools,” said Jesse McCurry, Kansas Grain Sorghum Executive Director.
“EPA is using regulatory tricks to drastically limit farmers use of critical inputs like Atrazine. A recent proposal would restrict its use on corn in almost all of Kansas leaving no cost-effective way to control herbicide resistance. EPA should refocus its attention on sound science and transparency is key to that,” said Greg Krissek, Kansas Corn Growers Association CEO.
“The U.S. cotton industry has worked with EPA over the years to educate the agency on the importance of maintaining workable labels for crop protection tools. We look forward to working with Senator Marshall and EPA to ensure that the needs of cotton farmers are met in the pesticide registration process.” said Ted Schneider, National Cotton Council Chairman and producer from Louisiana.
“Thank you, Senator Marshall for standing at the forefront in defense of our nation’s farmers who depend on these indispensable crop protection products allowing them to reliably feed, fuel and clothe the world,” said Ron C. Seeber, Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association President and Kansas Grain and Feed Association CEO.
You may click HERE to read the full text of the EPA Transparency for Agricultural Products Act.
You may click HERE for a one pager on the EPA Transparency for Agricultural Products Act.
In July 2021, Senator Marshall sent a letter to EPA Assistant Administrator Dr. Michal Freehoff urging her to ensure pesticide registrations and rulemakings are based on proven science to prevent producers from being subject to unnecessary and burdensome regulations.
In January 2022, Senator Marshall joined a group of his peers for a zoom call with EPA Administrator Michael Regan and other EPA officials to discuss the problematic direction EPA is head with decisions that restrict access to safe and necessary crop protection products.
In February 2022, Senator Marshall led a letter to EPA Administrator Regan that called on him to redirect the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs away from their current propensity for overly precautious, blanket bans and severe restrictions of necessary crop protection tools back towards a regular, risk-based regulatory process.
During a May 2022 hearing in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry, Senator Marshall stressed to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack the importance of the crop protection product glyphosate, which is used on 40% of all U.S. farm acres, and urged the secretary to stand up to the Environment Protection Agency’s position on glyphosate that will restrict farmers’ access to the pesticide.
In June 2022, Senator Marshall led a letter to President Biden calling on him to defend glyphosate and other crop protection products.
Adverse Actions Taken by EPA on Pesticides:
Chlorpyrifos – EPA pledged to uphold scientific integrity. However now, EPA only chooses to invoke science when convenient, and uses the courts as a shield to not appear to be at odds with the agricultural industry on pesticide polices. For instance, Administrator Regan keeps pointing to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals with respect to its decision to revoke all food tolerances for Chlorpyrifos in August of 2021. However, the court clearly gave EPA an option to retain 11 safe uses of the product— a point the Administrator himself is either unaware of or likes to ignore when talking to farmers about this issue.
Biological Evaluations – EPA also announced a new additional step in the process for evaluating and registering new active ingredients (AIs) through the Endangered Species Act (ESA). EPA will now evaluate the potential effects of the AI and initiate an ESA consultation with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, as appropriate, before registration. A calculation which will add months to the already tedious pesticide registration process. EPA claims this is in efforts to mitigate legal risks, yet it will inevitably have a detrimental impact to U.S. food prices. On the same day as this announcement, the EPA announced the renewal of registrations for Enlist One and Enlist Duo using this new process. Enlist is a critical crop protection tool that many producers rely on. At first blush, this was a welcome announcement. However, hidden in the fine print were county-wide prohibitions on the product that came after many farmers already invested in the seed and the product.
Dicamba – On December 21, 2021, EPA put out an unrequired, not mandated report tallying up the “increased number of drift complaints” of Dicamba from last growing season. This could only be interpreted as an attempt to build a record to justify abandoning or restricting the current label in future growing seasons.
Atrazine – On June 30, 2022, the EPA proposed new restrictions on atrazine which will impact more than 70% of all U.S. corn acreage. EPA proposed an ultra-low aquatic level of concern of 3.4 parts per billion which is a level that is not supported by scientific research. The previous level of concern was established in 2020 and was set at 15 parts per billion.
Glyphosate – On May 10, 2022, the U.S. Solicitor General (USG) reversed a long-held view on federal preemption, siding with the Plaintiffs Bar on the impending glyphosate litigation and recommending the Supreme Court of the Unites States not hear the case about the safe use of glyphosate – a product American farmers use on roughly 40% of acreage that enables more than $50B of US crop production annually. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) even maintains the science on glyphosate remains unchanged. Therefore we are left to wonder if this decision to allow states to utilize unscientific, anti-pesticide scare tactics on labeling is solely a political decision in order to appease progressive activist groups who are not concerned about where their food comes from or how much it costs.