EPA extends comment period for corn rootworm management plan

By Sarah Gonzalez

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WASHINGTON, March 16, 2015-- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is giving an extra month for stakeholders to comment on its proposal to update its corn rootworm insect resistance management program, which is intended to delay the pest becoming resistant to corn genetically engineered to produce Bt pesticides.

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The public comment period was extended to April 15 from the original March 16 deadline.

The agency published its proposal in January, which applies to registrations of plant-incorporated protectants (PIP) derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) in corn.

EPA defines PIPs as “pesticidal substances produced by plants and the genetic material necessary for the plant to produce the substance.” To develop them, plant breeders insert genes into crops that lead to the production of the substance (the PIP), which is harmful to certain pests. According to EPA, the first PIP product was registered in 1995.

The proposed framework for corn rootworm management includes requirements on the manufacturers of Bt corn. They include:

-In areas at risk of corn rootworm resistance, that they require crop rotation, use of corn varieties containing more than one Bt toxin, or other Integrated Pest Management strategies and stewardship for corn rootworm.

-That they develop and implement a strategy to better detect and address areas of resistance as they emerge.

-That they use different and improved scientific tests and sampling requirements to study the problem and more reliably ensure that resistance to the Bt corn toxin is identified. 

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