Three significant developments in the U.S. EPA Pesticide program

Dear SAI Stakeholders:
Please let me bring you up to date on three significant developments in the U.S. EPA Pesticide program.
1. Maneb Tolerance Revocation
On May 26, 2010 EPA published a proposed rule in the Federal Register (75 FR 29475) revoking all tolerances for the EDBC fungicide maneb, immediately following the publication of the final rule, which will be published shortly after the close of a 60-day comment period on July 26, 2010 if there are no comments.
EPA announced the voluntary cancellation for the last food uses for maneb on April 16, 2010, but allowed existing stocks to be used according to their labels until they are depleted. Word from the registrants is that most of those stocks have been depleted. However, if you are aware of any growers that are still using existing stocks of maneb, and need a tolerance to remain in place longer, you should use this comment period to let us know, and to suggest an alternative date. Comments can be submitted online at http://www.regulations.gov ; look for Docket No. EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0327.
2. NPDES Pesticide General Permit
As you know, EPA and the states have been working on a general permit for certain pesticide applications as discharges to the waters of the U.S. under the Clean Water Act, in response to a decision by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. On June 4, EPA published its draft permit in the Federal Register, opening a 45-day public comment period. EPA will convene public meetings in three cities and a public hearing in Washington, DC to answer questions about the draft general permit and to hear public comments and concerns about it. EPA will also present a webcast on the permit on June 17, 2010.
While this development in the Clean Water Act may not be of immediate interest to you, those of you who participate in applicator training and certification may experience some impact. Certain applications may require a permit from your state water quality agency. More information on the draft permit, including instructions for submitting your comments, can be found at http://www.epa.gov/npdes/pesticides .
3. Endosulfan Cancellation
Yesterday, EPA announced its plan to phase out and cancel all uses of the organochlorine pesticide endosulfan (trade names include Thionex and Thiodan) and is negotiating with the registrant, MANA, a schedule of voluntary use cancellations, based on the expected impact on each authorized crop.
While the use of endosulfan has dropped significantly in the last decade, about 400,000 pounds are used each year, mostly on cotton and specialty crops. Endosulfan has been identified as a Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxicant (PBT), and is particularly hazardous to workers and to the environment. However, dietary exposure to endosulfan has not been a concern in the revised risk assessments, even for special populations, so the tolerances for established for endosulfan residues on various commodities remain in effect. The food supply remains safe with respect to this pesticide.
Details on this decision, including the revised risk assessments and the impact assessments for several affected crops, are available at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides ; follow the links to the press release and the endosulfan page. These documents are not subject to review and comment, however, EPA is committed, under the Food Quality Protection Act, to support the transition to reduced-risk pesticides and pest management practices. Please stay tuned for more phaseout information. If, in the meantime, you are aware of any crops where growers may need extra support in order fully comply with the endosulfan phaseout, please let me know.
Please reply or call me at (312) 886-5992 if you have any questions about these topics, and stay tuned for more updates as issues arise. As always, thank you for your interest in the Strategic Agricultural Initiative in Region 5.
Seth Dibblee
SAI Coordinator
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NOTE: This SAI update is one of a series of periodic e-mail messages
about developments in the Strategic Agricultural Initiative in Region 5.
I am using a mailing list assembled from my recent contacts in each of
the Region 5 states (IL, IN, WI, MN, MI, OH). Please feel free to
forward this update to any of your colleagues who should see it, and let
me know if you would like to be added to my mailing list. Similarly,
please let me know if you would like to be deleted from the list or if
someone else should be listed instead. Thanks very much!
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Seth Dibblee
Strategic Agricultural Initiative Coordinator
Pesticides Section, Chemicals Management Branch
Land and Chemicals Division (LC-8J)
U. S. EPA Region 5 – Chicago
(312) 886-5992
dibblee.seth@epa.gov