The biannual meeting of the EPA’s PPDC was held virtually, hopefully for the last time, this past Wednesday and Thursday. This unique group is made up of stakeholders across the entire spectrum of opinions on pesticide use, from pesticide manufacturers to environmentalist groups who come together to hear updates from staff at the Office of Pesticide Programs and to work towards sound pesticide policy.
This meeting featured an update from OPP Acting Director Ed Messina on the progress his staff is making towards the completion of the reregistration of active ingredients. While significant progress is being made, there is still a strong chance that not all registration will be complete by the deadline. Messina covered several important topics in his remarks including the anticipation of the release of final biological evaluation for glyphosate, and the anticipated interim decision on the neonicotinoids both later in 2021. The meeting was also the first opportunity for the newly confirmed Deputy Assistant Administrator overseeing the OPP, Michal Freedhoff, to address the group. Administrator Freedhoff outlined the policy goals of the Biden Administration and how those goals would impact pesticide policy, including ensuring the integrity of science and doing away with the political interference of the previous administration. Freedhoff went on to say that impacts of climate change on agriculture would require a build-up of IPM methodologies to improve sustainability. PPDC makes use of workgroups to contemplate important policy topics between meetings and during a session on emerging agricultural technologies, Ed Messina and CropLife director of science policy Mano Basu mentioned the inclusion of the lawn and landscape industry in efforts to improve the precision of pesticide application equipment, not concentrating solely upon agricultural equipment. As a result, NALP will now become part of this working group to inform and assist EPA in understanding our equipment and methods.