Thank you for submitting comments on EPA’s Draft Ecological Assessment
Last year, the EPA released a draft Ecological Risk Assessment on atrazine, a popular herbicide used for weed control in growing the vast majority of corn, sorghum and sugarcane in the United States. Unfortunately, the federal agency is refusing to follow the law. Instead of using sound science in today’s review process, political activism is driving the re-registration of atrazine. In this risk assessment, EPA is recommending aquatic life level of concern (LOC) be set at 3.4 parts per billion (ppb) on a 60-day average. The EPA’s current LOC for atrazine is 10 ppb. However, scientific evidence points to a safe aquatic life LOC at 25 ppb or greater. This would ban the use of atrazine in most farming areas in the U.S. Tell EPA to follow their own high science standards. Ask the EPA to listen to the recommendations of their own Science Advisory Panels and more than 7,000 science-based studies that consistently prove atrazine’s safety. Politics and activist agendas have no place in a regulatory agency required by law to use credible scientific evidence in its decisions.
Tens of thousands of corn farmers wrote comments, signed cards at meetings and field days, mailed letters, and signed online petitions telling EPA its draft ecological risk assessment on atrazine was not based on credible science. The Triazine Network worked with several state and national groups to inform growers about EPA’s draft risk assessment for atrazine that uses questionable science and data errors that would result in a de facto ban of atrazine. Farmers across the nation told EPA an atrazine ban would have financial, agronomic and environmental consequences. The ecological draft risk assessment is only one part of the registration review of the triazine herbicides, which began in 2013. This is part of a larger registration review. What happens next could easily stretch into 2019.”
EPA is expected to convene a scientific advisory panel in 2017. A human health risk assessment is also expected in 2017. In 2018 or 2019, the final findings of the registration review process are expected to be released along with another comment period.
The Triazine Network, a coalition of agriculture groups and farmers who are concerned about regulatory actions involving atrazine and the other triazine herbicides. Kansas Corn worked closely with many other groups in the Triazine Network to help inform growers on this issue. Kansas Corn, the Triazine Network and other groups will continually remain involved throughout the registration review for atrazine.
Several environmental activist organizations circulated online petitions demanding that EPA ban atrazine. Kansas Corn monitored three online activist petitions. Together, the three petitions collected over 300,000 online signatures.
Farmers and ranchers make up just two percent of our population, so the fact that 54,000 corn farmers took action on this single issue is significant. It’s also important to point out that there are many more comments from farmers of other crops. We would also question what percentage of the people who signed the activist petitions actually know what atrazine is and how it is used.
The Triazine Network used an independent consultant to review the draft risk assessment. EPA used research in its risk assessment that was rejected by its own Scientific Advisory Panels. The assessment was also filled with data errors that skewed the assumptions that were made. The risk assessment recommended an aquatic level of concern for atrazine of 3.4 parts per billion. The LOC is currently 10 parts per billion and studies show that it could safely be over 24 parts per billion. The findings of the risk assessment would basically ban the effective use of atrazine in farm country.
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