Wisconsin groundwater expert disagrees with EPA atrazine proposal

A Wisconsin hydrogeologist disagrees with EPA’s proposed atrazine restrictions. Ken Potrykus with the state’s Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection says the EPA is using outdated information and its current approach is wrong. “They want to lower the application rates and they want to require additional best practices on the land.”

Potrykus says the EPA has been having problems with getting atrazine rules in place. “This is what’s being proposed and it’s out there. We’re probably going to hear more about what this rule is going to be from EPA probably in the next six to twelve months.”

Environmental groups want a ban on atrazine, saying it’s an endocrine disruptor that is harmful to aquatic organisms.  Last summer, the National Corn Growers Association said EPA’s atrazine proposal marks a step backward in EPA’s commitment to transparency and the use of the best available science.

As for Wisconsin, Potrykus says producers already apply less than half as much atrazine per acre as most states at around 0.495 pounds per acre. “We came through and we said the State of Wisconsin already has better than what the application rates are being allowed and we’re seeing good things. We’ve been fighting by saying there’s no reason to do anything more with atrazine in the state of Wisconsin.”

Potrykus says Wisconsin already has 101 atrazine prohibition areas covering 1.2 million acres, but only about 23% of that land is used for corn production.  He says education has lowered the number of atrazine application violations and additional restrictions are not needed.

Potrykus made his comments during the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association’s Grower Education Conference in Stevens Point Tuesday.

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