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HomeIndustry NewsFarmers Applaud EPA’s Acceptance of Atrazine Science Panel Recommendations

Farmers Applaud EPA’s Acceptance of Atrazine Science Panel Recommendations

March 19, 2024—EPA recently agreed with the recommendations of the atrazine Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP), removing several poor-quality studies that played a role in the agency’s recommendation for an ultra-low aquatic level of concern for atrazine. The SAP was held in August 2023 at the request of agriculture groups active in the Triazine Network. The panel considered EPA’s white paper and stakeholder comments to exclude or rescore several questionable studies used to set the aquatic concentration equivalent level of concern (CELOC).

“This is good news for farmers across the nation who rely on atrazine for weed control and sustainable farming practices,” says Triazine Network Chairman and Kansas Corn CEO Emeritus Greg Krissek. “We commend EPA for accepting nearly all of the SAP’s recommendations and paving the way for a more science-based regulatory decision moving forward.”

Scientists on the panel also expressed appreciation to the farmers and agriculture representatives who testified on the real-world benefits and necessities of atrazine as well as the real-world consequences of EPA’s proposed decisions. According to Triazine Network Co-Chair Mike Aerts, who also serves as vice president of Science and Regulatory Affairs for the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, hearing directly from the people using the product was a key component of the SAP.

“Our growers are engaged in this issue because it is extremely important for the ecological and financial sustainability of their family farms,” Aerts said. “The panel listened and went a step further in recommending the exclusion of three studies EPA had concerns with but had not recommended to be excluded. In its response, EPA accepted the panel’s recommendation to exclude those studies as well.”

Following the SAP, the Triazine Network requested EPA review two additional low-quality studies not included in the SAP’s charge questions. The Network has received reassurances the agency is reviewing those studies.

“We look forward to continuing our work with the EPA on this issue and applaud the agency’s recent creation of the Office of Agriculture and Rural Affairs,” Krissek said. “Under Rod Snyder’s leadership, the office will provide more efficient communication between the regulators and the regulated in the agriculture community.”

The Triazine Network’s request for the atrazine SAP followed EPA’s 2022 proposed revision to the Atrazine Registration Review decision. The proposal altered the atrazine CELOC from 15 ppb to 3.4 ppb using low-quality scientific studies and a flawed modeling system. If implemented, the proposed rule would have severely impacted atrazine use for 72 percent of U.S. corn acres, with similar effects for other crops.

The Triazine Network is a coalition of agriculture organizations and producers that has advocated for science-based decisions on the Triazine herbicides, including atrazine, since the mid-1990s.

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