The Environmental Protection Agency late Tuesday announced five-year registrations for two dicamba products and the extension of a third.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says the registrations include new control measures to ensure the products can be used effectively while protecting the environment, including non-target plants and other crops not tolerant to dicamba.
Bayer’s ExtendiMax and BASF’s Engenia received five-year registrations, while Syngenta’s Tavium registration was extended. Corteva’s FeXapan was not included in the announcement. A federal court in June tossed out the registrations for ExtendiMax, Engenia and FeXapan, but did not include Tavium.
The registrations feature new control measures, including requiring a volatility reduction agent and specific downwind buffers. The federal regulation prohibits over the top application of dicamba on soybeans after June 30 and cotton after July 30. Farm groups have called on the EPA to reregister the products for 2021.
However, a staffer at the Center for Food Safety via Twitter called the action “rushed before the election, as a political prop.” American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall and National Cotton Council Chairman Kent Fountain joined Wheeler for the announcement in Georgia.
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today welcomed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) denial of 54 of 68 pending past-year (2011-2018) small refinery exemptions (SREs), or waivers, to oil refiners. However, 14 gap-year waivers remain under required review at the Department of Energy (DOE). The EPA also has 31 waivers under consideration for 2019 and 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance years.
“Asking for waivers for nearly ten years ago was a new low by the oil industry to undermine the RFS and rewrite history. Denying these petitions was the obvious answer and farmers are pleased to begin to move past this distraction. We thank our bipartisan supporters in Congress, including Senator Ernst, for their advocacy in upholding the RFS.
“While denial of these past-year waivers is obviously positive news for farmers and biofuel producers, we’re never going to have the certainty we need until the underlying waiver issue is fully resolved.
“Nearly a year ago, the President directed the EPA to follow the letter of the law and keep the RFS whole and, in January, the Tenth Circuit ruled the EPA exceeded its authority in granting waivers. The Administration has yet to apply this decision to current waiver requests while corn farmers suffer suppressed markets and ethanol plants continue to have idled capacity.
“The solution is simple; the EPA needs to uphold the law, adhere to the Tenth Circuit decision, and follow through on the President’s commitment to farmers. Corn growers stand ready to work with the Administration to uphold the RFS and continue to remove barriers to higher ethanol blends.”
House Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson says he’s seen nothing in writing that President Donald Trump told the Environmental Protection Agency to reject any small refinery exemptions under the Renewable Fuels Standard.
The Hagstrom Report says Peterson is fearful the report may be speculation that the president will try to use until after the election. Recent reports quoted anonymous sources as saying Trump directed the EPA to reject the small refinery exemptions for past years that oil companies were requesting.
Groups like the Renewable Fuels Association, National Corn Growers Association, the American Coalition for Ethanol, and other groups that back ethanol were pleased by the reports. However, a spokesman for the Renewable Fuels Association told the Hagstrom Report that the EPA hasn’t confirmed it will reject those “gap-year” exemptions. During a recent political debate, Peterson says the recent speculation in Washington DC is based on anonymous sources.
The Minnesota Democrat recently introduced a bill that would require the EPA to be transparent about its decision-making surrounding the RFS in the future.