If the Environmental Protection Agency, National Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service are to go forward with Congressional orders to each test pesticide products to ensure adherence to federal standards, taxpayers will be out $474 million.
That's the latest from a study performed by Summit Consulting, LLC, and commissioned by CropLife America. The study looks at the effects of amendments to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, which mandate a 15-year cycle of pesticide registration reviews to ensure that all registered products meet current regulatory requirements.
The amendments, approved in 1996 and 2007, require that the first review cycle is completed by 2022. The problem, CLA says, is that EPA already reviews a product's potential impacts on the environment in accordance with FIFRA and Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, including possible effects on threatened or endangered species. As such, additional regulatory reviews would be duplicative, the group argues.
CLA says the report shows that the review process as it stands – with EPA, NMFS and FWS each completing a study on the same products – exceeds budget allowances. For example, if the NMFS and FWS were to complete the currently scheduled review of 744 pesticide registration dockets by fiscal year 2023, $474 million in additional taxpayer expense above current budgetary levels would be necessary, CLA says.
Further, completion of these dockets would require a 13-fold increase in current budget and a 25-fold increase over current staffing levels at NMFS and a 17-fold increase over current budget and a 71-fold increase over current staffing levels at FWS, according to the report.
"This new report prepared by Summit confirms that the current regulatory system for review of EPA decisions under FIFRA by FWS and NMFS, under authority of ESA, creates a broken regulatory system for crop protection products, providing no additional benefits to wildlife, farmers or taxpayers," said Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA, in a press statement.
Vroom says CLA is interested in a dialogue with the agencies about finding a solution to the review process that will still keep wildlife protections intact while using resources more efficiently.
"It is unrealistic to expect that our government will spend hundreds of millions of dollars more to expand regulatory capacity at FWS and NMFS, only to affect regulatory redundancy," Vroom said.
The National Academy of Sciences released a report in April that revealed similar findings, suggesting if FWS and NMFS could build on EPA's analysis of whether a pesticide is likely to adversely affect a listed species rather than conduct a completely new analysis, the assessment would likely be more effective.
Read the study white paper here.
News source: CLA