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The Ground View of Navigating FIFRA and the ESA: One Pesticide Registrant's Perspective


The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), enacted in 1947 and amended in 1972, 1978, and 1988, established federal regulation of pesticides in order to protect human and environmental health. FIFRA has been under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) since the EPA’s inception in 1970. Although FIFRA requires EPA to consider the benefits of a pesticide’s use, EPA must ensure that the pesticide is used without posing unreasonable adverse effects to human health or the environment. Furthermore, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), enacted in 1973, requires federal agencies to protect species vulnerable to extinction without consideration of costs. The amendments to FIFRA in 1972, 1978, 1988, and 1996 mandated the EPA review and reevaluate the eligibility of older pesticide products for reregistration under the updated FIFRA standard, while also complying with the new environmental laws of the 1970s. Today EPA’s goal is to review existing pesticide product registrations at least every 15 years under “Registration Review.” To meet their responsibilities under the ESA, EPA is initiating consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) during the Registration Review process. The first pesticide active ingredients to advance to consultations under Registration Review are those in gas cartridge products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) holds two gas cartridge product registrations. As a federal agency, APHIS also must comply with the ESA and consults with the USFWS on wildlife damage management activities, including tools such as pesticide products. This discussion presents APHIS’ unique ground view as a federal agency navigating the EPA’s ESA consultations during the Registration Review process, and describes the mitigation measures and their impacts on APHIS Wildlife Services’ activities.

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