TFI Welcomes Legislation to Strengthen EPA Assessments

Arlington, VA – The Fertilizer Institute today welcomed the introduction of legislation that would strengthen the scientific credibility of Environmental Protection Agency assessments. The Sound Science for Farmers Act, introduced today by Senators Ted Budd (R-NC) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), addresses widespread concerns about the lack of thorough interagency and peer review of chemical assessments.

“EPA’s proposed changes to its chemical risk evaluation process are worrisome, to say the least. Dozens of building-block chemicals critical to the agricultural space could be banned or de-facto banned by unachievable standards,” said TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch. “The unintended consequences here are staggering. Take formaldehyde, for instance, a chemical many may not associate with agriculture but is critical in the creation of granular urea, the source of nearly 25% of single-nutrient nitrogen for U.S. farmers and slow-release fertilizers that maximize crop-yields while providing enhanced environmental protections. Under EPA’s new chemical review process the people impacted are those who like to eat and those who care about environmental protection. So, essentially everyone.”

Making matters worse is that EPA has indicated it will not exclude from review agricultural uses that are heavily regulated by other federal agencies.

The solution, according to TFI and a coalition of other impacted industries, is to ensure accountability, stakeholder engagement, and scientific quality are taken into account during EPA assessments, risk evaluations, and regulatory actions. Other commonsense reforms included in the proposed legislation are requiring EPA to provide their work to relevant agencies for comment and ensuring a full and open peer review by reviving the defunct EPA Agricultural Science Committee.

“Here we are as an industry saying that these assessments need to be more rigorous and more transparent. The Sound Science for Farmers Act achieves those goals,” Rosenbusch concluded. “We look forward to working with Congress on passing this important bipartisan legislation.”