Farmers asked to rescue atrazine (Editorial)

(Aug. 30, 2016) The Environmental Protection Agency is again taking aim at atrazine and farmers in the Mid-Atlantic and across the nation are being asked to come to its rescue.
The American Farm Bureau Federation has issued an Action Alert on a pending EPA docket item related to atrazine and is asking Farm Bureau members to file individual comments with the EPA.
Specifically, before the EPA is a draft atrazine risk assessment evaluating its risk to animals, plants and endangered species.
Atrazine is a widely used herbicide and has been effectively used for decades in controlling weeds, particularly on corn, sorghum and sugarcane acreage.
Earlier this year, the EPA issued a draft ecological risk assessment of the herbicide, which is a preliminary step in judging whether the chemical will continue to be available for agricultural producers.
The draft assessment, if left unchallenged, according to the AFBF, “would significantly impact continued availability of atrazine by jeopardizing its re-registration.”
The AFBF argues that draft ecological risk assessment of atrazine using data based on “incomplete science.”
The agency’s assessment “ignored multiple high-quality scientific studies that support the continued use of atrazine as a safe and effective herbicide,” AFBF said. “This assessment is inconsistent with EPA’s previous conclusion and those of other regulatory agencies around the world.”
Atrizine is important to farming operations for many reasons, such as managing hard-to-control and herbicide-resistant weeds, cost-effective weed control, increased yields, fewer trips across the field, crop safety and flexible timing of applications.
Particularly important to Delmarva farmers is the weed killer’s environmental contributions to conservation tillage and no-till farming,
Atrazine is one of the most closely examined pesticides in the world. Its safety has been established in nearly 7,000 scientific studies over more than 50 years.
It is an essential product for weed control and farming, with more than half of all U.S. corn acres relying on the herbicide.
Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, the federal statute which regulates the availability of pesticides for farmers, producers have the ability to register their views in the pending EPA docket.
Under its Action Alert, the AFBF suggested to farmers that it is particularly important for them to note the importance of the herbicide to their operations, how it helps them in controlling weeds, increasing yields and, where possible, either saves farmers money or helps increase productivity.
The docket is open until Oct. 5 and all comments received before then will be considered by the agency, the AFBF said.
Let’s hope so. Experience has shown that to be sure EPA hears you, you have to shout.
Let’s clog the agency’s mailbox.
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Here’s how to do it. The online comment website is and users should select the Atrazine Action Alert.
Scroll down to ID blanks, fill them in and submit to receive example letter to EPA.
Complete the letter and submit again.
Farmers wanting to mail their comments should do so the following way:
Submit comments, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0794 to the following address: OPP Docket Environmental Protection Agency, Docket Center (EPA/DC) 28221T1200, Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460-0001
Be sure that the docket ID number is included on the top of your comments.