Burleson Smith and Beau Greenwood at 2016 Southern Crop Production Association annual meeting
Burleson Smith, left, and Beau Greenwood visit at the 2016 Southern Crop Production Association annual meeting.

House passes PRIA reauthorization bill amidst budget uncertainty

Houses passes bill to reauthorize expedited approval process of new pesticides.

The House passed the Pesticide Registration Enhancement Act of 2017, legislation that would reauthorize the pesticide industry’s fee-for-service program designed to expedite approval of pesticide products.

The bill, H.R. 1029, now goes to the Senate. It is the fourth reauthorization of the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act of 2003, which established the payment of fees by pesticide companies seeking to get products registered on a predictable schedule.

If passed by the Senate and signed by the president, the law may become even more important given the administration’s proposal to cut the EPA budget by $2.4 billion or nearly 30 percent and eliminate 3,200 jobs. If enacted by Congress, the cuts could mean the slow pace of pesticide approvals by EPA in recent years could become even more lengthy.

“We are pleased to see undivided support for PRIA, especially in time for National Ag Day,” said Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CropLife America. “Ag Day inspires us to come together, as one national community, to support our farmers and their dedication to keeping farmland productive for generations.

“Industry, users of pesticides, state and federal regulators, and the NGO community alike have all shown their support for PRIA. We thank Chairman Davis and others on the House Ag Committee for championing this bill, and we look forward to similar bipartisan support in the Senate.

More predictable reviews

Vroom said a “better funded, stable and predictable” Environmental Protection Agency regulatory program as represented by PRIA is critical for the development of more new, innovative products for agriculture.

The list of those products may be longer and broader than many realize, according to Beau Greenwood, executive vice president for government relations and public affairs at CropLife America, who testified on behalf of PRIA in 2016.

“The PRIA fee framework ensures that pesticide products will be available to support American agriculture; make available the disinfectants used by facilities managers; provide the tools necessary to combat mosquito and other vector control in the public health sector; ensure the availability of structural pesticides for residential and commercial purposes; and [support the] home & garden and turf & ornamental industries as well as golf course managers,” he said.

 “Consequently, those pesticide uses that most of us take for granted in our daily lives remain available and therefore, we are all beneficiaries of this necessary and important fee-for-service program that funds, in part, EPA’s pesticide registration and review programs.”

Sincere efforts of stakeholders

Greenwood said the support enjoyed by the program reflects the “commitment and sincere efforts of all stakeholders who work at the intersection of pesticide and public policy. Our primary underlying statute, [the Federal Insecticide, Rodenticide, and Fungicide Act], allows for the simultaneous protection of human health and the environment and for a predictable registration process.”

For more information on how farmers use crop protection technology to grow healthful and nutritious food, visit www.GiveaCrop.org.

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