A bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA), which includes fees to help fund EPA’s pesticide program, has been introduced in the Senate.
Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., introduced the bill Wednesday evening. They urged “swift passage of this legislation.”
Udall had blocked a previous version of the legislation in the last session of Congress, expressing concern about the agency’s analysis of chlorpyrifos and about its plans to lower the minimum age farmworkers and certified applicators could handle pesticides. EPA dropped its effort to revise the language last month, clearing the way for a PRIA deal.
According to the three senators, the bill is identical to one that cleared the Senate last year, which ensures the farmworker protection and certified applicator rules remain in effect through Oct. 1, 2021, but requires the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study on the Designated Representative provision of the worker protection rule.
That provision allows workers to designate someone to receive information on pesticide use by the farm where they’re working. But the American Farm Bureau Federation is worried that the provision could be used against farmers and wanted language making it explicit that information gathered by designated reps could only be used for the health and safety of workers.
Congress has reauthorized the current version of the legislation (PRIA 3) but farm groups have been clamoring for the new legislation because it raises fees and would provide “a long-term solution,” dozens of groups said in a letter to the House and Senate committees on agriculture in December.
Text of the bill was not available at time of publish.
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