IG: EPA ‘deviated’ on dicamba registration
The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday, May 24, released a report that said the independent agency “deviated from typical” procedures when it registered the pesticide dicamba.
The Office of the Inspector General released a report, a summary and a podcast about the report and a transcript of the podcast.
In the podcast, Alton Reid, a health scientist with the OIG, said, “One of our key findings was that the EPA’s 2018 decision to extend the conditional registrations of dicamba did not follow the EPA’s standard operating procedures.”
“Specifically, the EPA did not conduct required peer reviews of scientific documents supporting the registration decision, and some agency scientists who drafted documents about the dicamba registration did not sign off on the final documents because of changes made by senior management.
“Also, agency scientists we interviewed said that senior management was significantly more involved in the decision to grant the conditional dicamba registrations than in decisions about the registration of other pesticides.”
In a news release, the Center for Food Safety noted that it and the Center for Biological Diversity had filed a lawsuit challenging the 2018 approval, and that a federal court ruled last June that the EPA had violated the law when it failed to consider and account for the “enormous and unprecedented damage” caused by dicamba drift.
“Yet just days before the November presidential election, the Trump EPA rushed to reapprove dicamba products for five years, and farmers and conservation groups were forced again to sue to challenge the approval,” the center added. “This is the third time the agency has registered these products, each time with additional restrictions that have failed to stem devastating drift.”
“Now that the EPA’s highly politicized, anti-science approach to fast-tracking use of this harmful pesticide has been fully exposed, the agency should cancel dicamba’s recent approval, not try to defend it in court,” said Stephanie Parent, a senior environmental health attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity.
“The EPA knows that anything less is likely to result in yet another summer of damaged fields and lost profits for farmers choosing not to use dicamba.”
DTN/Progressive Farmer said, “It is not immediately clear what this OIG report’s conclusions mean for current dicamba herbicides, which were registered in October 2020 and are already facing multiple federal lawsuits.”
In an emailed response to DTN, an EPA spokesperson said the agency is standing by the 2020 dicamba decision.
“The agency has responded to the Office of the Inspector General’s report and is implementing several actions to ensure that our pesticide registration decisions are free from political interference and that the agency’s scientific integrity policy is upheld,” the statement said.
“The agency looks forward to productive conversations with the Office of the Inspector General as we work to resolve this matter. EPA stands by its 2020 decision made with the input of career scientists and managers.”
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