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Pilot Program Examines Modifications for Pesticide Emergency Exemptions

Release Date: 04/24/2003
Contact Information:

David Deegan 202-564-7839/

(04/24/03) EPA is beginning a pilot process to determine a more efficient and targeted review of a limited number of pesticide emergency exemption applications that meet certain criteria, starting with the 2003 growing season. The Agency will be seeking public comment on this pilot program, which is expected to be announced formally with the publication of a notice in the Federal Register on April 24. Pesticide emergency exemptions are allowed under section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Under this provision, EPA may authorize a state or federal agency to allow an otherwise unregistered pesticide use to occur on an emergency basis to control unforseen pest situations for a limited time (usually no longer than one year at a time). The Agency will assess a request for emergency exemption of a particular use of a pesticide to ensure that an emergency exists and that the product can be used safely and will not result in unreasonable risks to human health or the environment. The pilot, developed by EPA with significant input from government agencies and other stakeholders since 1996, involves two modifications to the emergency exemption application and review process for limited requests that meet certain conditions. The pilot will allow states and federal agencies to re-certify that the emergency pest problem, which initially qualified for a previously-granted exemption, continues to exist in the second and third years without annually submitting detailed information typically required to document the emergency. Additionally, the pilot will allow applicants for emergency exemptions to present economic data needed to support requests through a revised, tiered approach (which will often require less data) to document a “significant economic loss,” as a result of the pest problem. Only pesticides that EPA has previously determined to be “reduced-risk” are eligible for consideration in the pilot program. While not being implemented in the current pilot program, EPA is also seeking public comment on the potential role of the emergency exemption process in supporting pest resistance management efforts. The pilot is a step to possibly modifying the regulations governing the emergency exemption program, which EPA plans to pursue through a formal government rulemaking process. For more information, see: