ICGA Supports Farmers Seeking to Continue Using Atrazine
This week, the Illinois Corn Growers Association submitted comments in support of the reregistration of atrazine, an important chemical that empowers farmers to utilize conservation practices on their farms and lower their environmental footprints.
“Access to the chemical allows our farmers to control weeds without tilling the earth, to reduce fuel usage and to keep carbon sequestered in the soil. Without access to atrazine, farmers would have to consider additional tillage and additional chemical applications, which increase fuel usage, increase carbon released into the air, and in general do not support the conservation-minded transitions farmers are making to their practices,” said ICGA President Randy DeSutter in his comments.
The opportunity to provide comments is in response to the EPA’s published draft biological evaluation of atrazine. The comment period ends February 19.
The biological evaluation is an assessment of risks to listed endangered or threatened species from labeled uses of atrazine. It also includes a draft ecological effects assessment and determines the range of acceptable amounts of atrazine in the environment.
Within the published draft biological evaluation, the EPA asserts that atrazine is likely to adversely affect nearly all species and critical habitats in the continental United States, including some that are already extinct.
Says DeSutter within the comments, “First and foremost, ICGA would implore EPA to use the best available science in this evaluation. High-quality studies must carry more weight than low-quality studies in the decisions, just as you promised would occur. If the science is lacking, and precedent is set that faulty, low-quality science can be used to justify a means, the integrity of our regulatory process is jeopardized.”
Atrazine is the single most studied chemical used in the U.S. with a proven safety record for over 60 years. ICGA believes that if the EPA uses and places weight on the accurate, high quality studies of the chemical, the reregistration will be approved.
Although this specific comment period is regarding atrazine and the triazine chemicals, the precedent set by using old and less accurate data to justify a decision makes this a priority issue for corn farmers.