Lawmakers urge EPA to reconsider additional dicamba restrictions

More than 60 lawmakers are asking the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider litigation that could limit the availability of dicamba in 2022.

Congressman Jim Baird tells Brownfield agricultural producers need certainty.

“For the EPA to start reviewing this at this time of year is pretty frustrating to the agriculture industry because many of the producers have already purchased the product and intend to use it,” he says. “To have this kind of litigation and discussion from the EPA is not appropriate. That’s why my colleagues and I sent the letter.”  

The Indiana republican says the litigation relies on a report filed by EPA that alleges off-target movement of these dicamba-based formulations.

“We’re very concerned about the report that they used to come to these conclusions and a lot of industry people and state regulatory agencies have concerns about the numbers in this report,” he says. “…this idea that we’re coming back and reviewing the use of this product at this time is concerning to us. That’s why we sent the letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan expressing our concerns. We’re concerned about the kind of report that they made and the basis of the report and data that they used to come up with those conclusions. We’re encouraging them to make sure they take farmers’ and ranchers’ timeline and productivity in terms of starting another crop year into consideration. Let’s make sure they keep that in mind as they look at any review of the dicamba formulations.”

In a letter to EPA Administrator Regan, the lawmakers say the agency has acknowledged that there was likely double counting of complaints and that few complaints were investigated to verify whether damage occurred. Because of this, lawmakers say they’re concerned the report doesn’t meet evidentiary standards.

Last week a second letter was sent to Regan by U.S. Senators Mike Braun of Indiana, Roger Marshall of Kansas, and Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst Iowa. The group is calling on the administrator to “redirect EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs back toward a regular, risk-based regulatory process that reflects real-world data provided by the USDA and growers.”

“U.S. farmers and ranchers are already coping with record inflation and broken supply chains — the last thing they need is EPA voluntarily revoking or severely limiting traditional farming tools and methods,” senators say. “If these producers lose the ability to use certain crop protection products, farms will be forced to forgo conservation practices, like no-till farming, and revert to full tillage methods to control pests.”

The letter asks a series of questions about dicamba, chlorpyrifos, triazine herbicides, and the EPA’s biological evaluations.

Audio: Congressman Jim Baird

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