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EPA Ignores Its Own ‘Best Science’ Rules

The phrase “best available science and data” is a regulatory standard all federal agencies must follow when reaching Endangered Species Act decisions. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has chosen not to do so regarding the use of glyphosate, atrazine and simazine.

This lack of the latest science appraisals in EPA’s endangered species biological evaluations (BE) dramatically inflates the number of species and habitats likely to be adversely affected by these all-important no-till weed control chemistries.

Based on its unrealistic pesticide findings, EPA must now formally consult with the federal government’s Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service on hundreds of additional species. This would have been unnecessary if EPA had used the best available data. This extra burden will likely strain resource-strapped agencies, expand regulatory time frames and result in additional product restrictions that may do nothing to protect hundreds of endangered species.

Frustrated Growers 

Farm groups say this EPA evaluation inflates the numbers of impacted species. While farm groups provided much better, real-world scientific data, EPA chose not to incorporate this data into its final BE release. Here are two examples of the agency’s misrepresentations:

  • The final BE for glyphosate assumes soybean growers use 3.75 pounds per acre of glyphosate in each application. However, independent market research and USDA survey data show the number is 1 pound per acre, nearly four times less than the BE ruling assumes.
  • The final BE for glyphosate…
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Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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