Ensuring the U.S. EPA’s Pesticide Registration Program is Properly Funded and Implemented

PRIA Continues to Drive Industry Growth and Innovation

The Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA) provides the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with resources to more fully and expeditiously evaluate pesticides and their risks based upon sound science.

President Obama signed the PRIA III legislation on September, 29, 2012.   A compilation and breakout of the registration actions and successful implementation are reported by EPA in their annual report.

PRIA ensures long-term and stable funding for the EPA Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) through licensing fees from the registrants (manufacturers of pesticides). This stable funding supports a more efficient pesticides registration process to review new products and existing chemicals, updating of OPP’s IT management systems (establishing a tracking system), and provides funding for farm worker protection and grant money for farm certification programs.

PRIA was originally enacted in 2003, reauthorized in 2007, and in 2012. A unique coalition led by CSPA, Crop Life America, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Farm Worker Justice worked together to provide input to Congress that helped establish a new provision of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act; the new provision put in place a fee schedule for pesticide registration requests that requires specific time periods for EPA’s OPP to make regulatory decisions on pesticide registration and tolerance actions submitted to the EPA.

Industry fees coalition members
• Consumer Specialty Products Association (chair)
• CropLife America (chair)
• American Chemistry Council Biocides Panel
• Biotechnology Industry Organization
• Biopesticide Industry Alliance
• Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment

The original act provided approximately $200 million dollars in fees to increase and stabilize funding for EPA’s OPP. The same coalition again worked together to support renewal of the Act in 2012 and extended the assessment of those fees through 2017.

CSPA continues to be heavily engaged with EPA’s OPP and the coalition to help ensure decision timelines established under PRIA are met. Statutory timelines that help bring new products to market were achieved by the agency 98 percent of the time; this is vital for industry innovation. It has also completed re-registration of existing chemicals by the statutory timelines which was an important element for environmental and labor groups.  Implementation reports are available on the Agency’s site.

CSPA continues to co-chair the industry fees coalition (see list above and is helping to coordinate discussions in preparation for the expiration of the assessment of fees in 2017; new legislation will be needed prior to that time. Discussions among the stakeholders will begin in 2015/2016.

CSPA and the PRIA coalition are also currently working on a strategy to impact the appropriations “trigger” level which is a key provision in PRIA III.   The law requires a $128 million appropriation level for fees to kick in.   A letter was sent from the PRIA coalition to House and Senate Appropriators.

The letter was signed by all seven trade associations and NGOs; it calls for an assurance that the fees established under PRIA enhance, rather than supplant, appropriations for the OPP. (The law established a minimum appropriation necessary before PRIA fees could be collected.) Since its original passage, PRIA has been reauthorized twice i – the more recent reauthorization included an update to the minimum appropriation which was roughly equal to the increase in additional maintenance fees paid by registrants.

Congress met or exceeded the minimum appropriation for PRIA each year until 2013. The combination of sequestration and available funds put the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies in the untenable position of either waiving the statutory minimum or requiring suspension of the PRIA program as provided by law.

In 2014, we were compelled to waive the trigger, as appropriators told CSPA that with federal deficits and other budget constraints, shared cuts for all of EPA as well as other federal agencies were needed. The language we have in the House and Senate Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2015, states:

The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency is authorized to collect and obligate pesticide registration fees in accordance with section 33 of FIFRA amended by PRIA (Public Law 112-177) including pesticide registration services fees that were collected and sequestered in fiscal year 2013.   Notwithstanding Section 33(d)(2) of FIFRA, the Administrator of EPA may assess fees under section 33 of FIFRA.

Section 33(d)(2) is the trigger level of $128 million that was placed in the law in 2012. The trigger level will be waived for FY 2015 and we expect EPA OPP will take a $7.3 million hit for the trigger level.

Unfortunately, this leaves OPP with fewer funds than needed to administer the program as prescribed. The timelines for regulatory decisions prescribed in statute in the latest version of PRIA were predicated on a certain amount of funding being available to OPP.

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