Testifying Tuesday before two congressional committees, American Farm Bureau Federation Vice President Barry Bushue said the process for crop protection registration is “hopelessly broken.” Bushue, who testified before a joint public hearing of the House Committee on Agriculture and the House Committee on Natural Resources, cited the need for reconciliation between two federal agencies that both perform crop protection risk assessments.
Because both the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act and the Endangered Species Act specifically require the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Marine Fisheries Services (Services), respectively, to perform risk assessment procedures, AFBF says that legislation is needed to reconcile the roles of these agencies and to mesh two risk assessment requirements into one.
“The duplication of the risk assessment requirements for crop protection registration by EPA and for consultation by the Services is a prime example of the duplication and waste that exists in our federal agencies,” said Bushue. “The current process is not effective for anyone, including growers, regulators and endangered species.”
Bushue, a horticultural producer and president of the Oregon Farm Bureau, cited recent biological opinions developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees the National Marine Fisheries Service. The opinions, which rely on worse-case scenarios and flawed models, significantly conflict with existing EPA rules.
“Implementation of the existing or any future biological opinions should be stopped until an effective solution is found,” said Bushue. “Otherwise growers suffer through frivolous lawsuits or the unnecessary loss of critical tools.”
AFBF contends that EPA and the Services need to determine how best to work with one another to satisfy the missions of both FIFRA and ESA through one joint process.
“There are times when the only way we can save or protect a crop is by using crop protection products,” continued Bushue. “The availability of these products is important not only to my farm but to agriculture in general.”