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Diane Schute

EPA Denies Petition Seeking Chlorpyrifos Ban

On March 29, 2017, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed an order announcing the Agency’s decision to deny a 2007 petition filed by the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) seeking the revocation of all tolerances for chlorpyrifos and the cancellation of all product registrations for the chemical.  The order appeared in the April 5, 2017 Federal Register.  Among the claims asserted by the petitioners was that EPA failed to adequately assess the potential for chlorpyrifos to cause neurodevelopmental effects in children at exposure levels below the Agency’s existing regulatory standard (10% cholinesterase inhibition).  In an effort to resolve the scientific issues surrounding the potential risks associated with chlorypyrifos, EPA committed to completing the expedited registration review of the chemical several years in advance of the October 1, 2022 statutory deadline.  Although EPA had expedited its registration review, the petitioners were not satisfied with the Agency’s progress in responding to the petition and filed a lawsuit in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to compel EPA to either issue an order denying the petition or to grant the petition by initiating the tolerance revocation process.

 

In August 2015, the Court issued a ruling in favor of the petitioners.  Following the judicial ruling, in November 2015 EPA issued for public comment a proposal to revoke all chlorpyrifos tolerances citing the uncertainties pertaining to the chemical’s potential to cause neurodevelopmental effects.  Subsequently, the 9th Circuit announced that it would retain jurisdiction over the chlorpyrifos matter and on August 12, 2016 directed EPA to issue a final decision on the petition no later than March 31, 2017.  In so doing, the Court made it clear that no further extensions in responding to the petition would be granted.  Pursuant to the Court order, in November 2016 EPA published for public comment notice of availability of its revised risk assessment for chlorpyrifos.

 

In its March 29, 2017 decision to deny the petition seeking a ban on the use of chloryprifos, the Agency states:

 

“Following a review of comments on both the November 2015 proposal and the November 2016 notice of data availability, EPA has concluded that, despite several years of study, the science addressing neurodevelopmental effects remains unresolved and that further evaluation of the science during the remaining time for completion of registration review is warranted to achieve greater certainty as to whether the potential exists for adverse neurodevelopmental effects to occur from current human exposures to chlorpyrifos. EPA has therefore concluded that it will not complete the human health portion of the registration review or any associated tolerance revocation of chlorpyrifos without first attempting to come to a clearer scientific resolution on those issues. As noted, Congress has provided that EPA must complete registration review by October 1, 2022. Because the 9th Circuit’s August 12, 2016 order has made clear, however, that further extensions to the March 31, 201 7 deadline for responding to the Petition would not be granted, EPA is today also denying all remaining petition claims.”

 

EPA’s denial of the petition was applauded by Sheryl Kunickis, director of USDA’s Office of Pest Management Policy who called it “a welcome decision grounded in evidence and science.”  Kunickis added, “It means that this important pest management tool will remain available to growers, helping to ensure an abundant and affordable food supply for this nation and the world.  This frees American farmers from significant trade disruptions that could have been caused by an unnecessary, unilateral revocation of chlorpyrifos tolerances in the United States.  It is also great news for consumers, who will continue to have access to a full range of both domestic and imported fruits and vegetables.”

 

It is very likely that the petitioners will turn to the courts in an effort to overturn EPA’s recent decision.  CPDA will report on further developments on this issue as they occur.  The Agency’s decision denying the petition may be accessed by clicking here.

EPA Budget Memo Details Proposed FY 2018 Funding Cuts to EPA’s Pesticide Program Activities

An article appearing in the April 5, 2017 edition of “InsideEPA.com” details severe funding cuts expected to be proposed in the Trump Administration FY 2018 budget request for EPA that promise to impact a number of Agency programs, including the Office of Pesticide Programs.  According to the article, the proposed funding reductions are set forth in a March 21, 2017 budget memo prepared by David Bloom, EPA’s Chief Financial Officer.  The article reports that the President will propose a $5.7 million and 31.7 FTE (full-time equivalent) decrease from OPP FY 2016 enacted funding levels of $6.1 million and 324.8 FTEs for protecting human health from pesticide risk.  In addition, the article states that the President will propose a reduction of $4 million and 18 FTEs from the $4.6 million in FY 2016 funding and 207.9 FTEs for protecting the environment from pesticides.  The reduced OPP funding levels set forth in the memo are accompanied by a statement explaining that the President’s budget will include language to allow the pesticide program to use fees on a broader range of activities in the program thus preventing a reduction or slowing in pesticide reviews.  The memo further states, “The program has nearly $30 million of unspent fee carryover that can help support core work.”  Elsewhere the memo states, “Sizeable unobligated balances in EPA’s FIFRA fee accounts are to be used to offset FY 2018 funding levels.  Additionally, any potential additional fee collections from the upcoming reauthorization of PRIA could help offset reductions to the program.”

 

As reported previously, current FIFRA language states that in order to release funds collected by program participants, Congress must appropriate corresponding funds to support the program.  Funds are then released on a dollar-for-dollar accounting basis.  Fees that do not have a matching appropriation cannot be spent and are held by the Agency.  As a result of dwindling appropriations and hiring freezes over the years, EPA has amassed significant funds that cannot be expended on the activities for which they were intended.  CPDA is now working in an effort to secure appropriations committee report language affirming that these “frozen” funds should be released and used in support of the Agency’s pesticide product review activities.  In addition, CPDA is focusing its efforts in seeking FY 2018 OPP appropriations levels that will ensure EPA is equipped with the resources necessary to conduct product reviews under PRIA in accordance with the statutory time frames established by law.  CPDA will keep its membership apprized of further developments on this issue as they occur.

House Adopts “PRIA 4” By Voice Vote

On Monday, March 20, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted by voice vote H.R. 1029, the “Pesticide Registration Enhancement Act” under a suspension of the rules.  Introduced in the 115th Congress by Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL), the measure was reported favorably out of the House Committee on Agriculture on February 16, 2017.  Among its provisions, the bill would authorize the collection of $31 million in maintenance fees for each of fiscal years 2017 through 2023 (current maintenance fees are set at $27.8 million/year).  In addition, the measure provides for an increase in the maintenance fee cap for large and small businesses and it continues the current prohibition on the imposition of tolerance fees as well as any other registration fee not specifically authorized by PRIA through fiscal year 2023.

 

In its other provisions, the measure provides for a set-aside of between 1/9 and 1/8 of maintenance fees collected for the review of inert ingredient submissions and me-too pesticide applications.  The bill also adjusts registration service fees and decision review times for product submissions subject to PRIA and provides for two 5% increases in registration service fees during the effective period of the statute.  Finally, H.R. 1029 reauthorizes existing provisions of PRIA for seven years, as opposed to the five-year extensions in previous iterations of the statute.

 

 

CPDA Conducts Legislative Policy Conference in Washington, D.C.

CPDA held its 2017 Legislative Policy Conference at the Club Quarters Hotel in Washington, D.C. on March 8th.  The conference featured a presentation and Q&A with Cameron Bishop, Legislative Director in the office of Representative Austin Scott (R-GA), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit.  Bishop provided attendees an overview of current activities in the House including an update on prospects for reauthorization of the Farm Bill this year.

 

Rep. Rodney Davis

The 2017 Legislative Policy Conference marked several important changes in format from previous years.  First, following the morning session and Legislative Committee meeting, attendees traveled to Capitol Hill for a small Congressional roundtable luncheon held in the House Agriculture Committee hearing room where several Hill staffers came by for informal conversation over a quick bite to eat.  In another important change, in lieu of the traditional Congressional reception held in years past, the 2017 Legislative Policy Conference concluded with a small dinner hosted by the CPDA-PAC at the Capitol Hill Club.  The honored guest was Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) who chairs the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research of the House Agriculture Committee.  As reported previously, Representative Davis is the lead sponsor of H.R. 1029, legislation to reauthorize PRIA, which was recently reported out favorably by the House Committee on Agriculture.  This small, intimate dinner provided those in attendance the chance to discuss in much greater detail a range of matters critical to the success of their business operations.  CPDA believes that the new format of this year’s Legislative Policy Conference facilitated greater interaction between Council members and their elected Representatives and provided Members of Congress and their Congressional staff a better understanding of the unique challenges agrotechnology companies face in the day-to-day management of their businesses.

Council members had the opportunity to meet Representative Rodney Davis (center) during a small dinner hosted by the CPDA-PAC at the Capitol Hill Club.

 

Cameron Bishop Addresses CPDA Members

Of course, the primary focus of the Legislative Policy Conference that brought CPDA representatives to Washington was the “Rally on the Hill” during which Council members fanned out for a series of Congressional office visits to discuss several priority initiatives and issues of importance to the agrotechnology industry.  Among these was industry’s support for the reauthorization of PRIA, the call for enactment of legislation to eliminate duplicative NPDES permitting requirements for EPA approved pesticides, the need for meaningful regulatory reform that does not subject companies to unnecessary burden and costs, and raising awareness regarding the problematic relabeling requirements of OSHA’s 2012 revisions to the Hazard Communication Standard.

CPDA Legislative Policy Conference Includes an Overview of the Political and Regulatory Climate Under the Trump Administration

CPDA’s Don Davis Briefs Conference Attendees

CPDA Director of Legislative Affairs Don Davis presided over the Legislative Policy Conference held in Washington, D.C. on March 8th and provided attendees a snapshot of the post-election political landscape and regulatory climate under the Trump Administration.  The following is a summary of the key highlights of Don’s presentation.

 

CPDA Members Review Key Issues in Preparation for Congressional Visits

Across the nation, some 44 state assemblies now fall under Republican control and in 25 states, the GOP controls both the Assembly and Senate in the state legislature. The electoral map of the U.S. also shows that 33 Republicans and 16 Democrats hold the governorship.  The party breakdown at the state level is important in that it plays an important role in what happens at the federal level – especially when it comes time for Congressional redistricting.  Meanwhile in the 115th Congress, 237 Republicans and 193 Democrats make up the House (with 5 seats currently vacant) while 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats make up the Senate.  However, the GOP’s control of 52 seats in the Senate falls short of the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster under current Senate rules.

 

With regard to the current regulatory climate in Washington, the Trump Administration has wasted no time in pushing forward its agenda of regulatory reform and has already signed several Executive Orders of importance to CPDA.  Every President since George Washington has used the power of the presidency to issue Executive Orders as a means of instructing federal agencies on how to implement a law but sometimes as a way of circumventing existing law.  Yet, an Executive Order can be overturned by the Judiciary if it is determined that the EO is unconstitutional or not supported by the underlying statute.  In addition, Congress can pass a new law to override an Executive Order, subject to a Presidential veto.

 

Among the Executive Orders that the President has signed is the directive set forth in a January 20, 2017 White House memorandum that establishes a temporary regulatory “freeze” prohibiting all federal agencies from sending any regulation to the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) for publication until a department or agency head appointed by the President reviews and approves the rule.  Rules that have been sent to the OFR but have not yet been published in the Federal Register must be immediately withdrawn pending review by the Administration.  Another EO, signed by the President on January 30th, requires any executive department or agency that proposes a new regulation to identify two regulations to be repealed.  For fiscal year 2017, the total incremental cost of all new and repealed regulations must be no greater than zero.  Finally, the President signed an EO on February 24 which instructs each federal agency to designate an official as its Regulatory Reform Officer within sixty days of the order.  These officers would oversee the administration’s regulatory reform policy laid out in previous executive orders within their respective agencies.

 

In addition to these White House actions, the Republican controlled House is advancing its own agenda of regulatory reform with the introduction of several legislative initiatives supported by CPDA.  Among these are the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017, the Congressional Review Act of 2017, and several other measures intended to instill transparency into the federal rulemaking process without imposing unnecessary cost or undue burden on the regulated community.

 

Before dispersing to Capitol Hill, CPDA members received the following “Lobbying 101” tips in preparation for their Congressional office visits:  1) Know the make-up of the political environment within which you are advocating your position; 2) Get to know Members of Congress who play a key role on specific bills of interest (including the majority and minority leadership who sit on the Committee of jurisdiction); 3) Acquire an understanding of the legislative process and how bills move through Congress; 4) Develop a personal relationship with the elected Representative from your Congressional district as well as his/her staff but do not contact them only when you need something; 5) Leave behind a one-page fact sheet summarizing the issue and stance along with your business card; and, 6) Follow up any Congressional office visit with a personal thank you note.

 

With these tips and pointers fresh in hand, Council member company representatives embarked on a very successful and productive “Rally on the Hill” relaying CPDA’s position on key legislation that will have a profound impact on the agrotechnology industry.

President Trump Continues to Push for Regulatory Reform with New Executive Order

On February 24, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) directing the heads of federal agencies to designate a Regulatory Reform Officer to oversee the implementation of regulatory reform initiatives including the directives set forth in his previous EO issued on January 30th.  As reported previously, the January 30th EO establishes a “regulatory cap” for fiscal year 2017 and requires federal agencies that propose for public notice and comment or otherwise promulgate a new regulation to identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed.  In addition, the January 30th EO stipulates that for fiscal year 2017, the total incremental cost of all new regulations, including those that have been repealed, must be no greater than zero unless otherwise required by law or consistent with written guidance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

 

In addition to calling for the appointment of a Regulatory Reform Officer, the February 24th EO directs each federal agency to establish a Regulatory Reform Task Force that will have responsibility for evaluating existing regulations and making recommendations to the agency head regarding the repeal, replacement or modification of existing rules.  Federal agencies that issue few or no regulations could seek a waiver from OMB exempting them from the requirements of the EO.  A list of agencies with current waivers will be published by the OMB at least every three months.

 

In performing its duties, the Regulatory Reform Task Force is instructed to identify regulations that eliminate or inhibit job creation, are unnecessary or ineffective, and impose costs that exceed benefits.  In carrying out its charge, the Regulatory Reform Task Force is directed to solicit input from state, local, and tribal governments, small businesses, consumers, non-governmental organizations, and trade associations.  Within 90 days from issuance of the EO, the Regulatory Reform Task Force must provide a report to the agency detailing its progress in carrying out these obligations.

CPDA Seeks Exemption for Final PRIA Actions from Administration’s Regulatory Freeze

On February 14, 2017, CPDA wrote to then-EPA Acting Administrator Catherine R. McCabe requesting that pesticide registration actions under PRIA be exempt from the regulatory freeze established under a January 20, 2017 White House memorandum mandating a temporary hold on all new or pending regulations so as to allow the Administration sufficient time to review these rule for questions of “fact, law and policy.”  The memorandum, issued by Reince Priebus who serves as President Trump’s Assistant and Chief of Staff, sets forth a Presidential directive prohibiting all federal agencies from sending any regulation to the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) for publication until a department or agency head appointed by the President reviews and approves the rule.  Rules that have been sent to the OFR but have not yet been published in the Federal Register must be immediately withdrawn pending review by the Administration.  Until such time as the restrictions detailed in the so-called “Freeze Memorandum” are lifted, EPA submission of final rulemakings to the OFR for publication of products approved under PRIA are on hold.  The memorandum does include the opportunity for an affected entity to request an exemption to the prohibition on sending a rule to the OFR and/or the necessary rescinding of a submitted but unpublished rule with specific reasoning.

 

The mandate of the Priebus memorandum has resulted in a round of negotiated due dates under PRIA for those applications currently in the pipeline as well as those awaiting the last step of publication in the Federal Register.  CPDA has learned that many member and non-member companies have received requests from the Agency for renegotiated due dates of current PRIA actions.  It is unclear whether submissions made now or since January 20th will be time-stamped for submission or whether an applicant will be notified of receipt of submission. Exacerbating this situation are reports that the Trump Administration has also ordered a freeze on all new federal contracts (the bulk of PRIA application review is performed under contract).

 

In its February 14th letter to EPA, CPDA cited a provision in the Priebus memorandum which specifically excludes from its mandate those regulatory actions subject to statutory deadlines.  CPDA explained that the primary benefit of the statutorily established review timelines under PRIA is to provide certainty and regulatory predictability while allowing for independent review of applications for product registrations.  CPDA emphasized that the delay in publication of registration approval in the Federal Register nullifies this benefit and creates a critical situation for the agricultural and pesticide manufacturing and distribution sectors whose businesses depend on the date-certain approval of products so that they are made available for use by farmers during the limited window of the spring growing season.  Any delay in making these products available to users, CPDA added, could have serious financial consequences not only for the pesticide industry but for farmers who depend on ready access to these crucial products in making their spring planting decisions.  CPDA will continue to keep a close eye on this situation and report on further developments as they occur.

CPDA-Canada Addresses PMRA Draft Consultations on Data Compensation

On February 24, 2017, CPDA-Canada submitted comments to Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) in response to the Agency’s December 30, 2016 consultation document containing proposed revisions to the Agreement for Data Protection under Section 66 of the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA) formerly known as the Ministerial Agreement.  In its comments, CPDA-Canada expressed its disappointment with the changes proposed by PMRA emphasizing that the Agency “still refuses to implement an equitable data compensation and regulatory mechanism that balances the interests of companies that develop new pesticides (‘innovator’ companies) fairly with companies that produce generic pesticides (‘generic companies’).”

 

CPDA-Canada focused on the inequities inherent in the “Final Offer Settlement” (FOS) approach to arbitration maintained from the Ministerial Agreement by PMRA and recommended by the Intersol Group in its report to the Agency.  The mechanism set forth under PMRA’s consultation document on the new Agreement is essentially identical to the arbitration terms of the existing Ministerial Agreement.  Namely, an Arbitral Tribunal is required to choose either the generic company’s “willing-to-pay” final offer or the innovator company’s “willing-to-accept” final offer.  CPDA-Canada emphasized that the FOS approach is inappropriate for this type of arbitration and subjects the generic registrant to inordinate financial risk.  CPDA-Canada pointed out that there is no evidence that a single registered generic pesticide product was based on an arbitral award utilizing FOS arbitration under the existing Ministerial Agreement since 2010.  “Instead of addressing the fundamental cause of this limitation (a severely biased arbitration approach that eliminates the availability of important lower-priced agricultural products to Canadian growers), the Agency seems insistent on perpetuating the problem by maintaining this inequitable and unworkable form of arbitration,” CPDA-Canada stated.

 

In its comments, CPDA-Canada addressed the lack of provisions in the proposed Agreement that would confer upon the generic company the right to discovery during negotiations and arbitration.  CPDA-Canada emphasized that without the right to discovery, the generic company is effectively denied access to the type of information that is necessary in accurately assessing the likely profitability of commercializing the product, especially if the product in question is the first or second generic chemical to enter the marketplace.  As such, the generic company is put at a decided disadvantage in making a “willing-to-pay” final offer under the FOS arbitration approach.  Moreover, CPDA-Canada pointed out that the proposed Agreement could unfairly subject the generic company to stiff financial penalties in the form of reimbursement to the innovator company for legal costs and disbursements incurred during the arbitration proceedings.  This penalty would be applicable in situations where the generic company either withdraws from the arbitration proceedings and/or decides that it would not be economically feasible to move forward with the registration after an award is made.

 

CPDA-Canada called upon PMRA to remedy these impediments to the generic registration process by replacing the FOS approach with an unbounded binding arbitration mechanism (under the Canadian Arbitration Act or CAA) that would include the right to discovery and information sharing during negotiations.  CPDA-Canada further urged PMRA to allow the generic company to withdraw from the arbitration proceedings at any time before the award is made without fear of financial penalty and to require that arbitration costs be split between the parties with each party responsible for its own expenses.  In addition, CPDA-Canada recommended that the Agreement include timelines of 30 days for negotiations and 120 days for arbitration.  CPDA-Canada explained that particularly in situations where the product in question would be the first generic product to enter the marketplace, the innovator company is likely to delay negotiations in an effort to keep competing companies out of the market for as long as possible.  CPDA-Canada stated that there is no incentive for an innovator company to negotiate in a timely manner in such situations.  However, CPDA-Canada noted that in cases where the negotiations are progressing at a reasonable pace, the parties can mutually agree to extend the time.  The result could be a negotiated agreement and a letter of access (LOA) or a request to go to binding arbitration.  Lastly, CPDA-Canada recommended that the final offers by the party be shared with the other party when submitted to the Arbitral Tribunal.  To read the full version of the comments, please click here.

 

CPDA-Canada also submitted comments to PMRA in response to the Agency’s draft consultation document on the eligibility criteria for compensable protection status for foreign test data as proposed on December 30, 2016.  CPDA-Canada expressed its support for PMRA’s clarification of the compensation status of the foreign data the Agency considers during re-evaluations, special reviews, and the registration of generic products calling it “appropriate and needed.”  However, CPDA-Canada reiterated the need for PMRA to revise the negotiation and arbitration component of the current data compensation process so as to make it equitable.  “Unless the Agency does so,” CPDA-Canada emphasized, “the helpful clarifications of this current proposed action will remain irrelevant to achieving a ‘fair’ and ‘equitable’ data compensation process for timely registration of generic products based on newer chemistries.”  To read CPDA-Canada’s comments, please click here.

 

(To learn more about the draft consultations proposed by PMRA please visit our archived news item by clicking here).

 

 

Health Canada Announces Proposal to Limit the Personal Use Import Exemption for Unregistered Pesticides

Health Canada has announced a draft amendment to the Pest Control Products Regulations to revise the current personal use import exemption to prohibit certain unregistered pesticides from entering Canada.  Currently, the regulations allow unregistered pesticides to be imported into Canada for personal use when the pesticide is 500 grams (g) or 500 milliliters (mL) or less and when the value is $100 or less.  According to Health Canada, the exemption was originally put in place to allow travelers to carry small quantities of a pesticide, such as an insect repellant deemed to pose little or no risk, across the border.  However, Health Canada now cites concerns that the widespread use of the Internet to purchase goods online coupled with the increase in international travel could result in the influx of larger amounts of potentially toxic, unregistered pesticides entering the country.  Health Canada notes that the Canada Border Services Agency lacks the authority under current regulations to intercept these products before they cross the border.

 

In seeking to limit the exemption, the Health Canada proposal would allow the importation of unregistered pesticides only if they meet the following criteria:

 

  • imported directly by the importer for personal use (i.e., online purchases or deliveries would not be permitted),
  • 500 g or 500 mL (or less) per person,
  • it is equivalent to a Canadian registered domestic class product (the same active ingredient and concentration),
  • packaging and labeling is in either English or French,
  • it is in its original packaging with the original label intact, and
  • it must be registered or authorized for use in the country of origin (contains a government registration number on its packaging or label).

 

In announcing its proposal, Health Canada indicated that if left in its current form the importation exemption could erode the integrity of Canada’s pest control products regulatory regime.  For example, importers could circumvent the quantity limit established under the current exemption by placing many separate online orders via the Internet.  According to Health Canada, individuals and businesses could import “virtually unlimited quantities of unregistered pesticides for possible commercial use or resale.”  Consequently, products that have not gone through Canada’s rigorous review and approval process could end up occupying a larger share of the Canadian pesticide market thus resulting in lost sales for pesticide manufacturers and increased public health and safety risks.

 

Health Canada’s proposal was published in the February 11, 2017 edition of the Canada Gazette with a 30-day public comment period.  The proposal may be accessed by clicking here.

House Agriculture Committee Approves PRIA Reauthorization Bill

The 115th Congress of the United States has convened and one of the most important issues that CPDA and its members are working on is the reauthorization of the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA).  PRIA was first enacted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004 to establish firm deadlines by which EPA must make decisions on pesticide registration actions submitted to the Agency.  As originally enacted, the Act required Congress to reauthorize the program through legislation every 5 years with the current program set to expire on September 30, 2017.

 

A measure, titled the “Pesticide Registration Enhancement Act of 2017” (H.R. 1029), was introduced in the House on February 14, 2017 by Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) and was favorably reported out of the House Agriculture Committee by voice vote on February 16th.  Among its provisions, the bill would authorize the collection of $31 million in maintenance fees for each of fiscal years 2017 through 2023 (current maintenance fees are set at $27.8 million/year).  In addition, the measure provides for an increase in the maintenance fee cap for large and small businesses and it continues the current prohibition on the imposition of tolerance fees as well as any other registration fee not specifically authorized by PRIA through fiscal year 2023.  In its other provisions, the measure provides for a set-aside of between 1/9 and 1/8 of maintenance fees collected for the review of inert ingredient submissions and me-too pesticide applications.  The bill also adjusts registration service fees and decision review times for product submissions subject to PRIA and provides for two 5% increases in registration service fees during the effective period of the statute.  A copy of the bill may be accessed by clicking here and a section-by-section summary is available here.

 

While CPDA is generally supportive of the provisions in H.R. 1029, the Council does have some concerns with regard to how the bill, as presently written, would impact appropriations.  Specifically, current PRIA requires that in order to release collected funds, Congress must appropriate corresponding funds to support the program. Funds are then released on a dollar-for-dollar accounting basis.  Fees that do not have a matching appropriation cannot be spent and are held by the Agency.  As a result of dwindling appropriations, EPA has amassed a significant amount of funds totaling approximately $20 million that cannot be expended on the registration activities for which they were intended.  Some have suggested that “de-linking” appropriations and fees in the Act will solve this problem.  CPDA believes that de-linkage is an inappropriate way to release these frozen funds because:

  • The link between fee collection and appropriations is the mechanism that guarantees that Congress will continue to fund PRIA;
  • De-linkage does not solve the ongoing problem of the mismatch between appropriations and fee collections; and
  • The problem of the mismatch between appropriations and fee collections can be easily solved by passing a one-time waiver to release currently frozen funds.

 

CPDA is working with lawmakers to support a waiver process that would allow these funds to be released while maintaining the Congressional incentive to appropriate the necessary funding to support PRIA.  The original intent of PRIA was to create an EPA funding mechanism that would completely support the pesticide registration process through funds collected from industry (maintenance and registration fees) as a supplement to the appropriations enacted by Congress.  However, due to the failure of Congress to enact the base level of appropriations specified in current PRIA, EPA’s registration program has not seen full funding for the past several years.  Over the coming weeks and months, CPDA staff will be visiting with members of Congress to address this issue.

 

With regard to the timing of how PRIA might move through Congress, it is expected that the measure will be the subject of at least one hearing, if not several, all of which will likely wrap up by late spring before the bill is sent to the House floor for a vote.  Once approved by the House, the measure will be sent to the Senate for consideration and passage.  A joint House-Senate committee must then reconcile any differences in the legislation as passed by both chambers.  The bill will then be sent back to the House and Senate floors for a vote before going to the President to be signed into law.  The process of moving a bill through Congress can be slow or fast depending on the issues involved.  PRIA is expected to move in a “normal manner” with a target for completion either right before or soon after the August recess.

 

The reauthorization of PRIA will be one of the key advocacy issues to be discussed during the Congressional office visits we are planning as part of the CPDA Legislative Policy Conference scheduled for March 8, 2017.  We encourage all member company representatives to attend.  Additional information on how to register for the Conference is available by clicking here.

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