While costs skyrocket, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking another swing at atrazine, disregarding sound science, transparency, and regulatory framework. Please take two minutes to fill out the comment form and join Texas Corn Producers Association (TCPA) in stopping EPA from using regulatory tricks to drastically limit your use of a critical input.
In 2020, EPA published its final atrazine registration review decision, setting the aquatic level of concern (CE-LOC) at 15 parts per billion (ppb). Extreme environmental groups retaliated with a lawsuit, opening the door for EPA to shift tactics and alter its 2020 published decision.
On June 30, EPA proposed an ultra-low CE-LOC of 3.4 ppb, dramatically limiting atrazine’s use on corn and other crops. This proposed level is not supported by scientific research. The proposed rule will impact more than 72 percent of U.S. corn acres, significantly reducing application rates and requiring additional conservation measures and reporting procedures. It also prohibits all aerial application and application during a rain or storm event or when rain is forecast within 48 hours.
If adopted, the proposal would place severe restrictions on most farmers who have safely used the popular herbicide for more than 60 years.
After examining the extensive documentation posted to the EPA proposed rule docket, the scenario has gone from bad to worse for growers of corn, grain sorghum, sugar cane, fruits, vegetables, and other crops that rely on atrazine.
According to agency documents, 23 percent of acres would exceed the ultra-low 3.4 ppb aquatic CE-LOC, and an astounding 49 percent of corn acres would be over 9.8 ppb. Areas predicted to exceed the limit would then be required to implement and document one or more mitigation practices from a “picklist” and use a lower rate of atrazine.
Even in flat areas with little or no runoff, EPA’s radical prediction model would require growers to use mitigation practices like adding buffer strips and terraces. Meanwhile, with no input from USDA, other viable options like split applications were not included on the proposed picklist.
Additionally, EPA is proposing label changes that reduce atrazine application rates by 20 percent, ban application within 48 hours of a predicted rain event that could produce runoff, and also aerial applications.
EPA estimates the cost to replace atrazine is $42 per acre based on alternative herbicide expenses and reduced yields from poor pest control. If adopted, there will be significant implications for no-till and conservation tillage, negatively impacting efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Allowing environmental activists to win here – when atrazine has more than 7,000 science-based studies over 60 years proving its safety – sets a dangerous precedent for regulating atrazine and all other crop inputs.
Join us in the fight. Add your name to the long list of growers battling to stop EPA’s latest overreach. Tell EPA to stick to sound science and the 2020 finalized atrazine registration review. Anything less is unacceptable.
TCPA encourages farmers to make share their story and FIGHT BACK in two ways:
Information in this article is compiled from the Triazine Network, which is a coalition of agricultural organizations and their growers concerned with regulatory actions relating to triazine herbicides, including atrazine.