State pesticide regulators are concerned EPA is considering whether to limit their ability to impose additional restrictions on pesticide use beyond federal guidelines. Last week, EPA announced it may look at a provision in federal law governing pesticide regulations, in part because some state rules “narrow the federal label” dictating chemical applications.

EPA cautioned any new approach won’t affect requests made ahead of the 2019 growing season, and said the public will have an opportunity to weigh in.

Under the current system, states can take an extra step to mandate additional training for pesticide applicators, to impose a later cut-off date for when chemicals are applied to crops, or to account for local pests and environmental concerns. EPA first has to approve those requests, of which it receives hundreds per year. The agency said it’s evaluating “the circumstances under which it will exercise its authority to disapprove those requests.”

States’ rights: 
Rose Kachadoorian, president of the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials, said she believes the existing system is working well. She emphasized that state regulators view potential EPA action as stepping on states’ rights and ability to make decisions specific to local areas.

State pesticide bodies have received lots of attention in the past few years over state decisions to restrict or even partially ban application of dicamba, an herbicide used to fight weeds invading soybeans fields, primarily in the Midwest and South. Drift from dicamba has unintentionally damaged millions of acres of crops, prompting lawsuits and tighter state regulations.

Bayer’s bottom line: Any decision by EPA is sure to greatly affect Bayer, the owner of Monsanto’s dicamba products, which has said it’s unnecessary for states to impose additional restrictions as long as farmers are properly applying the herbicide.
Source: Agropages