Lucas: EPA Restrictions Threaten Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers

Mar 28, 2022
Agriculture
Press

Washington, DC – Recently, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) joined fellow House Republicans voicing frustrations towards the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Agency’s actions of issuing restrictive registrations on Enlist One and Enlist Duo. The Agency has also recently proposed a new registration process for new pesticide active ingredients that could severely limit producers’ access to important pesticides.

“I am deeply concerned with the EPA’s recent actions limiting critical crop protection tools for Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers. Oklahoma’s landowners, farmers, and ranchers are careful stewards of our land and wildlife- their livelihoods and the prosperity of their land depend on their actions as excellent stewards. With the start of the 2022 growing season growing near, the EPA’s burdensome restrictions on herbicides and pesticides will result in even more uncertainty for the Oklahoma farmer and rancher- on top of the stresses of the current drought and shifts in the supply chain,” said Congressman Lucas. “In Oklahoma, the EPA’s regulations will severely restrict the tools of farmers in 46 counties- including more than 70% of the state’s soybean acres- and will add to the burdensome bureaucracy farmers and ranchers much jump through when dealing with the EPA. While the EPA’s Enlist restrictions and new pesticide regulation proposal accounts for a small percentage of the United States’ ag production, it will impact 100 percent of the crop yield potential for Oklahoma farmers. I urge the EPA to reconsider and reverse the restrictions and instead allow Oklahoma’s producers to continue providing the food, fiber, and products that help feed and clothe the world. Oklahoma’s landowners, farmers, and producers are frustrated with the unnecessary bureaucracy of the EPA, which is why I’ll continue to be their voice pushing back on the encroachment of the federal government while continuing to be a champion for Oklahoma’s farmers and family farms.”

In January 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued seven-year registrations for the popular herbicides Enlist One and Enlist Duo. As a result, producers in more than 200 U.S. counties who have been using Enlist products are now prohibited from using the crop protection tool.

On March 1st, Congressman Lucas joined 34 of his House Republican colleagues in writing a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan expressing their thoughts and concerns with the new Enlist restrictions.

“Due to the rising cost of inputs, inflation not seen in four decades, and significant, ongoing supply chain disruptions, alternative herbicides and seeds this close to the growing season will be unattainable for producers,” wrote the lawmakers. “We strongly urge you to stay the prohibition on Enlist One and Enlist Duo in these counties for the 2022 growing season due to the harm these bans will inflict on already stressed growers and supply chains.”

Agriculture leaders across Oklahoma have voiced their concerns with the EPA’s registration of Enlist One and Enlist Duo, including Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur, Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Rodd Moesel, and Oklahoma Soybean Association President Steve Snelson.

“Oklahoma Farm Bureau is disappointed in the actions of the EPA to restrict the usage of the Enlist herbicides in 46 counties in Oklahoma – more than any other impacted state. Farmers and ranchers support the sound science that backs modern farming practices and allows them to produce the safest, most abundant and most affordable food supply in the world, yet the EPA has failed to be transparent on the scientific reasoning for the decision. Restricting the use of this proven technology places an unfair burden on farmers and ranchers in an already challenging time,” said Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Rodd Moesel

“Additionally, the active ingredients in the Enlist products – 2,4-D and glyphosate – are found in many widely used herbicides. We are deeply concerned about the potential impact on Oklahoma’s agricultural producers should the restrictions expand to herbicides outside of the Enlist product line.” 

“Last Fall we ordered seed choosing Enlist tolerant soybeans primarily due to the cutoff date issue with Dicamba. Just as these were being shipped to our warehouse, the EPA’s new labels effectively banned the use of Enlist in a large number of Oklahoma counties right before spring season with no time to change course. A lot of producers stand to lose substantial yield without access to effective and sustainable weed control,” said Oklahoma Soybean Association President Steve Snelson

“The EPA took another tool out of our toolbox.  Instead of using technology we already paid for, we’re being told to increase our pre-emergent program and hope that will carry us through until bean canopy,” said Pam Snelson, the Oklahoma National Director to the American Soybean Association.  

Lucas recently also sent another letter to Administrator Regan joining House Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04) and House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member G.T. Thompson (PA-15) inquiring about a recent proposal that could hinder the registration process of new pesticide active ingredients. Members outline several concerns with the proposal, including the conflict between the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which has been the subject of several court cases and has resulted in granting undue jurisdiction of critical pesticide decisions to federal judges.

“With the 2022 growing season around the corner, we believe EPA’s actions will result in a great uncertainty for producers. A science-based, transparent, and predictable pesticide registration process is needed to provide pesticide users with the tools necessary to operate, contribute to local and national economies, strengthen our food supply chain, and – importantly – feed our families,” wrote the lawmakers.

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