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Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA): Agriculture-Related Enforcement Cases 2002

The following are agriculture-related enforcement cases pertaining to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, Rodenticide Act. This information is provided for reference. Over time, links to news items may become unavailable. In these cases the item will remain listed, but no link will be provided. Also, please be aware that the information in any particular article may be outdated or superseded by additional information.

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EPA Enforcement Cases 2002

EPA Enforcement Cases 2001

EPA Enforcement Cases 1999 and 2000

December 13, 2002

EPA Settles with Two Biotech Seed Production Companies
EPA announced that it has settled cases with two Midwest companies over the alleged mishandling of genetically modified corn grown for seed under strict field testing conditions in Hawaii. The action simultaneously issues and settles the complaints with Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. (a subsidiary of DuPont) of Johnston, Iowa and Dow AgroSciences of Indianapolis, Indiana. The complaints allege failure to comply with the conditions of the EPA's Experimental Use Permits for growing genetically modified corn seed.

An Experimental Use Permit is issued under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) which is overseen by the EPA to allow for field testing of new pesticides in order to generate the data necessary to support their registration as pesticides. The EPA contends that the companies did not comply with certain permit requirements to grow genetically modified corn. These corn varieties have been modified to contain genes that help protect the corn plant from pests. EPA regulates these types of products under a rigorous science-based regulatory process. While Dow and Pioneer neither admit nor deny any wrongdoing with this settlement, both companies have agreed to pay penalties to resolve the enforcement actions. The settlement reached with Dow is for $8,800 and the settlement reached with Pioneer is for $9,900.

"EPA required strict conditions in these particular permits to maximize containment to ensure that no pollen from the experimental corn is transferred to other corn," explained Wayne Nastri, the regional administrator of the EPA's Pacific Southwest Region. "Companies using experimental permits to field test genetically modified corn need to abide by the conditions in the permit." Both cases were initiated after EPA conducted inspections in March 2002 at Dow AgroSciences and Pioneer's research fields on the islands of Molokai and Kauai.

According to the complaints, the EPA inspector found that:Dow AgroSciences did not have an appropriate tree buffer around its experimental corn field and failed to use hybrid corn varieties as a buffer crop, both of which were required to ensure pollen containment; Pioneer Hi-Bred planted its experimental corn in an unapproved location, which was within 1,260 feet of other Pioneer seed production corn. In addition to paying a monetary penalty in this case, Pioneer Hi-Bred must perform additional crop testing to determine if any genetic material from the experimental plants were transferred to unmodified corn grown by Pioneer Hi-Bred in the adjacent fields. This testing will ensure that the corn seed grown under the permit restrictions is contained.

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May 31, 2002

EPA Fines Man $23,100 For Pesticide Misuse
EPA announced the settlement of an administrative enforcement action against a resident of Hiland Park, Florida, for placing aldicarb, a pesticide, on deer carcasses for the purpose of baiting and killing coyotes. Aldicarb is the active ingredient in Temik7 insecticides, which are classified by EPA as "restricted use" pesticides. At the time of the applications, the Florida resident was not a certified applicator nor did he apply the pesticide under the direct supervision of a certified applicator. EPA contended that such activities constituted violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

While neither admitting nor denying the alleged violations, the man agreed to pay a penalty of $23,100. Through the application of aldicarb to each of three deer carcasses for the purpose of killing coyotes, the man used a registered product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling. There are no aldicarb labels which bear directions for use for predator control. Aldicarb labels also bear warnings such as "Toxic to Fish, Birds and Wildlife" and "Apply this product only as specified on the label."

The man also violated FIFRA by improperly storing two containers of aldicarb. Neither was present in its original container and both could have been accessed by children. Aldicarb labels bear strict storage requirements: "STORAGE: Store unused Temik brand Aldicarb Pesticide in original container only, in well ventilated clean dry area out of reach of children and animals. Do not store in areas where temperature averages 115 or greater. Do not store in or around the home or home garden."

There has been an increase in the misuse of pesticides to control predatory and nuisance animals. Such placement of aldicarb and other highly toxic pesticides in the environment poses a grave danger to both humans and animals, including those protected by the Endangered Species Act, who may come into contact with the material. Pesticides should only be applied, for their intended uses and according to label directions.

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