Sorghum Growers: EPA Proposed Level of Concern for Atrazine Hinders Climate-Smart Agriculture Goals, Departs from Science
Washington, DC (June 30, 2022) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reopened today the finalized re-registration of atrazine, a widely utilized herbicide in sorghum production, and is proposing to replace the approved 15 parts per billion (ppb) concentration equivalent level of concern (CE-LOC) in the aquatic assessment with the ultra-low 3.4 ppb CE-LOC proposed in 2016—a severely restricted level not supported by credible scientific evidence that would have a devastating impact on farmers.
“National Sorghum Producers strongly disagrees with the EPA’s proposed level of concern for atrazine,” NSP Chairman Kody Carson, a sorghum farmer from Olton, Texas, said. “Farmers cannot meet the climate goals set forth by the Administration if we do not have tools like atrazine that allow us to farm effectively and more efficiently. Despite thousands of comments from growers and the agriculture community containing years of usage and monitoring data that contradict EPA’s ill-founded 2016 proposal, the agency went ahead with a CE-LOC that is not supported by the evidence. We are, however, encouraged the EPA has committed to an ‘external peer review’ and are hopeful the EPA will use a Scientific Advisory Panel to use the best quality research to get the CE-LOC right. Atrazine is the most studied agricultural chemical in the U.S. and has been a proven and dependable herbicide for close to 60 years.”
National Sorghum Producers is actively seeking input from its grower community alongside its partners at the Triazine Network, a coalition of agriculture groups that have been involved in regulatory issues related to triazine herbicides since 1995. The proposal (EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0266) is published in the Federal Register, and EPA will accept public comments for 60 days.
“This is a tool our farmers cannot stand to lose,” NSP CEO Tim Lust said. “Climate-smart agriculture relies on tools like atrazine particularly for sustainable farming practices like conservation tillage and no-till. Some estimations show greenhouse gas emissions associated with farming rise by almost 40 percent without it. This underscores the importance of having a united and vocal showing this summer from our farm community about the importance of this important crop-protection tool.”
Lust said NSP will continue to work with the EPA, Congress and the White House to help bring logic and science to the assessment process.
The 2020 atrazine re-registration, which began in 2013, concluded the review process that is conducted every 15 years. The 15 ppb CE-LOC was approved in September 2020. EPA used an activist court case against the agency to revisit the level of concern, which led to today’s proposed, ultra-low 3.4 ppb CE-LOC.
National Sorghum Producers represents U.S. sorghum producers and serves as the voice of the sorghum industry coast to coast through legislative representation, regulatory representation and education. To learn more about NSP, visit www.sorghumgrowers.com.