California Citrus Mutual was very pleased when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on March 29, 2017, that it would deny in full the administrative petition requesting that EPA revoke all tolerances and cancel all registrations for the insecticide chlorpyrifos.
“We believe that sound science should prevail in the regulation of crop protection tools,” says CCM President Joel Nelsen. Nelsen and members of the CCM Executive Committee met several times with EPA last year to convey the importance of chlorpyrifos in citrus production. CCM, in conjunction with trade associations around the country, encouraged EPA to evaluate this product and all pesticides with transparent, science based studies. “We believe this decision is a step in that direction,” said Nelsen.
EPA was under court order to render a decision by March 31, 2017. In a lawsuit brought by the petitioners to compel EPA to issue a final response to their petition, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had ordered EPA to rule on the petition by the end of this month.
EPA will now focus its attention on updating and revising its human health assessment for chlorpyrifos under the standard procedures of the ongoing registration review process, scheduled for completion on October 1, 2022, in order to support future decision-making.
EPA’s denial of the petition is supported by EPA’s own process, by statutory directives, and by established guidance for regulatory decision-making developed over four decades. The regulatory process for assessing human health risks should be rigorous, science-based, and transparent. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act (FFDCA), and the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) demand no less and EPA’s denial of the petition is aligned with these basic foundations of the regulatory process.
Citrus growers rely on this valuable crop protection tool to control serious pests, such as the Asian citrus psyllid, that spreads the deadly HLB or citrus greening disease. Chlorpyrifos also has established international standards that allow growers access to important export markets.