CPDA and a coalition of applicator and grower groups have submitted joint comments to EPA on the Agency’s proposed interim decision (PID) on paraquat, a herbicide used to control invasive weeds and plants on more than 100 crops including cotton, corn, and soybeans, and for which there are presently no direct product alternatives. In addition to CPDA, the other signatories include Association of Washington Aerial Applicators, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Cotton Council, National Sunflower Association, Washington Friends of Farms & Forests, and USA Rice.
The proposed interim decision for paraquat was issued by EPA in October 2020 as part of the 15-year registration review requirements under FIFRA for evaluating pesticides. Among the mitigation measures proposed by EPA in the PID is the prohibition of the aerial application of all paraquat uses and use sites except for cotton dessication.
In the joint comments, CPDA and the others called upon EPA to reconsider its decision to eliminate all uses of paraquat except for cotton dessication. They pointed out that this product has been applied by air safely for decades and cautioned that its elimination could cause undue harm to soybean, sunflower, potato, rice, wheat, corn, and dry bean growers across the country. CPDA and the other signatories objected that EPA’s data significantly understates the importance of aerially applied paraquat. They maintained that the Agency’s estimates of risks to bystanders and the environment were inaccurate and that EPA should use the more realistic Tier 3 model in AgDRIFT to assess the drift from aerial applications. The comments concluded with a set of suggested mitigation measures that EPA could take in alleviating its concerns over risk associated with the use of paraquat. A copy of the joint comments submitted to EPA may be accessed by clicking here.