EPA is asking for comments on whether it should continue to allow states to restrict pesticide use based on local conditions — something states have done in the past two years to prevent damage to off-target crops and other plants from dicamba drift. In a web posting last week, the agency said most of the Special Local Needs requests it receives are for new uses, as specified in the law, but some are designed “to narrow the federal label, such as to add a more restrictive cut-off date, to add training and certification requirements, or to restrict the use directions by limiting the number of treatments permitted by the federal label.” This year, for example, Illinois and North Dakota have imposed June 30 cutoff dates for dicamba use, while Arkansas settled on a May 25 cutoff date. Those states and others also have added additional restrictions. Rose Kachadoorian, pesticide program manager in the Oregon Department of Agriculture and president of the Association of American Pesticide Officials, said states should be allowed to impose conditions because they each deal with different landscapes, humidity, soil types and crops. AAPCO and some states plan to submit comments to EPA, which said it would take public comment on the issue. “We look forward to a robust public dialogue on this matter,” an EPA spokesperson said without offering specifics on when EPA would announce a formal public comment period.
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