The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public comment on draft guidance to improve the efficiency of EPA’s Endangered Species Act (ESA) analyses for new pesticide active ingredient applications and active ingredients undergoing registration review. This guidance, when finalized, fulfills requirements outlined in the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act of 2022 (PRIA 5) and furthers goals outlined in EPA’s 2022 ESA Workplan to protect listed species from exposure to pesticides.
Among other requirements, PRIA 5 mandates that EPA develop and issue guidance to registrants regarding analyses necessary to support the evaluation of potential adverse effects from outdoor uses of pesticide products on listed species and designated critical habitat. PRIA 5 specifies that the draft guidance be available for public comment and be finalized within nine months of PRIA 5 issuance.
The draft guidance applies to:
- New conventional pesticides and biopesticides that are intended for outdoor use; and
- Existing conventional pesticides and biopesticides that are intended for outdoor use that are being reevaluated under registration review.
Although this document does not create new requirements for applicants, the recommendations in the guidance will help applicants address potential effects to listed species for new active ingredients and registration review actions. In particular, the recommendations focus on actions that applicants can voluntarily pursue to inform their proposed mitigation measures for listed species. These actions include identifying where a pesticide will be used, how species may be exposed to the pesticide, and how to select mitigation to reduce the exposure. If followed, these recommendations should expedite the FIFRA action and improve the efficiency of the overall ESA-FIFRA process.
Guidance for new uses of existing active ingredients will be made available at a later date.
The draft guidance, which incorporates lessons EPA has learned over the past several years as it has worked to implement EPA’s ESA workplan, is available for public comment in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2023-0281 at www.regulations.gov for 30 days.