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APHIS proposes to remove the domestic quarantine for Emerald Ash Borer

Some of you may already be aware of this proposal, but I wanted to post it to highlight the comment period. See below.

APHIS is proposing to remove the domestic quarantine regulations for the emerald ash borer (EAB). Eliminating this regulation is in keeping with USDA’s goal of reducing regulations that have outlived their usefulness. The proposal would end APHIS’ domestic regulatory activities, which includes actions such as issuing permits, certificates and compliance agreements, making site visits, and conducting investigations of suspected violations, and instead direct all available resources toward managing the pest. APHIS remains committed to controlling this invasive pest and wants to conduct more research and release a greater number of biological control agents—tiny stingless wasps that are natural predators of the EAB—since biocontrol has shown the most promise for stopping EAB’s spread. Continue reading

EPA Extends Comment Period for the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Biological Opinion on Chlorpyrifos, Diazinon, and Malathion

In response to numerous requests, EPA is extending the public comment period on the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Biological Opinion on chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion. Please submit comments by July 23, 2018, to the docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2018-0141 at regulations.gov. EPA will share all public comments received on this Biological Opinion with NMFS, and EPA will evaluate them before determining how to proceed.

EPA is seeking comment on the NMFS’s Biological Opinion for chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion in accordance with EPA’s public stakeholder process for ESA consultations – an open and transparent process supported by the Services, EPA, and USDA. Stakeholder input is critical to the development of any measures EPA may implement to address risks to listed species and designated critical habitat.  Continue reading

EPA Releases Draft Policy to Reduce Animal Testing for Skin Sensitization

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft Science Policy to reduce the use of animals in testing chemicals to evaluate whether they cause an allergic reaction, inflammation or sensitization of the skin. The draft policy is open for public comment until June 9, 2018.

“This draft policy is another step toward achieving EPA’s goal of reducing the use of animals and increasing the use of cutting-edge science in chemical testing,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Continue reading

Public Comment Period Open for Glyphosate Draft Risk Assessments

The Environmental Protection Agency has opened the 60-day public comment period for the draft glyphosate human health and ecological risk assessments. Comments are due by April 30, 2018.

The draft risk assessments and supporting documents are available in glyphosate’s registration review docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0361 on www.regulations.gov.

After the comment period, EPA will evaluate the comments received and consider any potential risk management options for this herbicide.

For additional details read our December 2017 announcement: EPA Releases Draft Risk Assessments for Glyphosate.

EPA Extends Comment Period for Neonicotinoid Risk Assessments

At the request of stakeholders, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is extending the public comment period for recently released neonicotinoid insecticide risk assessments from February 20, 2018, to April 21, 2018. The Agency published preliminary ecological and human health risk assessments in December 2017 for the neonicotinoid insecticides, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran, and a preliminary ecological risk assessment for imidacloprid (assessing risks to birds, mammals, non-target insects, and plants). In December 2017, the Agency also published new cotton and citrus benefits assessments for foliar applications of the neonicotinoids, as well as a response to public comments on the 2014 Benefits of Neonicotinoid Seed Treatment to Soybean Production Continue reading

There is still time to submit comments to NIFA about priorities

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture is accepting input from stakeholders regarding research, extension, and education priorities in food and agriculture. A series of four in-person listening sessions hosted in different regions across the country and submission of written comments will offer two ways to share your thoughts and ideas. Stakeholder input received from both methods will be treated equally. Written comments will be accepted through Friday, December 1, 2017.

This listening opportunity allows stakeholders to provide feedback on the following questions:

  • What is your top priority in food and agricultural research, extension, or education that NIFA should address?
  • What are the most promising science opportunities for advancement of food and agricultural sciences?

Continue reading

APHIS Extends Comment Period for Chrysanthemum Plants for Planting Pest List

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is considering removing import restrictions on chrysanthemum plants for planting. Chrysanthemums are currently regulated for Puccinia horaria, also known as chrysanthemum white rust (CWR).

To better understand which pests might enter the continental United States if we remove import restrictions on CWR hosts, APHIS has prepared a commodity pest list available for comment titled: Importations of Chrysanthemum Cuttings and In vitro Plantlets for Propagation from Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and Vietnam into the Continental United States. The list contains 44 U.S. quarantine pests found in 20 countries identified as potential sources of cuttings and in vitro plantlets of Chrysanthemum spp. and synonymous genera. Continue reading