EPA Releases Summary of Dicamba-Related Incident Reports from the 2021 Growing Season

This original announcement was published by the EPA on December 22, 2021. Click here for more information.

Today, as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to transparency and scientific integrity, the Agency is providing a summary of dicamba-related incident reports from the 2021 growing season obtained from pesticide registrants, States, the general public, and non-governmental organizations.

Dicamba is an herbicide used to control certain types of broadleaf weeds. Some dicamba products can be sprayed over-the-top of genetically engineered soybeans and cotton after the crops have emerged from the ground. This use has been subject to considerable controversy, including the 2020 vacatur of the Agency’s 2018 dicamba registrations and the 2021 EPA Inspector General report on the 2018 dicamba decision, both of which noted the Agency’s failure to fully disclose and address risks of which it was aware.

Despite the control measures implemented in EPA’s October 2020 dicamba registration decision, the 2021 incident reports show little change in number, severity, or geographic extent of dicamba-related incidents when compared to the reports the Agency received before the 2020 control measures were required. EPA received approximately 3,500 dicamba-related incident reports from the 2021 growing season indicating that:

  • More than one million acres of non-dicamba-tolerant soybean crops were allegedly damaged by off-target movement of dicamba;
  • A range of non-target agricultural crops were allegedly affected by dicamba, such as sugarbeets, rice, sweet potatoes, peanuts, and grapes;
  • Dicamba allegedly damaged non-agricultural plants and trees, such as those that grow near homes and in wild areas, including a 160,000-acre wildlife refuge; and
  • More than 280 incident reports came from counties where additional restrictions are required to protect endangered species when dicamba is applied to dicamba-tolerant soybean and cotton crops.

Based on prior research and numerous stakeholder meetings, EPA has reason to believe the number of incidents reported significantly understates the actual number of incidents related to dicamba use. For example, in a 2020 memo, EPA estimated that one in 25 dicamba incidents was reported to EPA. No evidence available to EPA suggests that underreporting has changed.

Given the new information from the 2021 growing season, EPA is reviewing whether over-the-top dicamba can be used in a manner that does not pose unreasonable risks to non-target crops and other plants, or to listed species and their designated critical habitats. EPA is also evaluating all of its options for addressing future dicamba-related incidents. The regulatory tools that the Agency could use to address the extent and severity of the alleged dicamba-related incidents are unlikely to be fully implemented by the 2022 growing season due to the statutory processes the Agency is required to follow.

However, EPA is committed to helping states address issues related to incidents in their jurisdictions. If a state wishes to further restrict or narrow the over-the-top uses of dicamba, the Agency will work with them to support their goals. Additionally, due to the extent and severity of reported incidents from the 2021 growing season, EPA is unlikely to approve section 24(c) requests under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to register additional uses of federally registered over-the-top dicamba products to meet special local needs.

EPA’s decisions will continue to be informed by information submitted by, as well as discussions with, scientists, academics, state agriculture extension agents, pesticide registrants, growers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials, and the State FIFRA Research and Evaluation Group. The Agency is committed to acting in a transparent manner, following well established regulatory processes, while upholding its mission of protecting human health and the environment.

To view the report and supporting documents, visit docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2020-0492 at www.regulations.gov.

Background on Dicamba

In 2017 and again in 2018, EPA amended the registrations of all over-the-top dicamba products following reports that growers had experienced crop damage and economic losses resulting from the off-site movement of dicamba. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated the 2018 registrations in June 2020 on the basis that “EPA substantially understated risks that it acknowledged and failed entirely to acknowledge other risks.” Days after the court’s decision, EPA issued cancellation orders for the affected products that addressed existing stocks. An investigation by EPA’s Office of the Inspector General later found that EPA’s 2018 decision was influenced by political considerations and that senior management had changed career scientists’ analyses and conclusions without documented reasons, resulting in risks not being fully addressed.

In October 2020, EPA issued new registrations for two dicamba products and extended the registration of an additional dicamba product. These registration decisions were made with some input of EPA’s career scientists and managers, and were expected to address the risk concerns noted by the Ninth Circuit.  All three registrations included new measures that the Agency expected would prevent off-target movement and damage to non-target crops and other plants.

Regulatory Process

Registrants can propose voluntary measures to amend their labels or cancel specific products or uses.

If EPA determines, following consideration of such a proposal, that such measures would address unreasonable adverse effects associated with the product or use, the Agency commits to conducting a public comment period prior to the adoption of any proposed decision designed to address the extent and severity of these incidents. In the absence of a voluntary request to cancel the product(s), it is unlikely that this process could occur and be fully implemented before the 2022 growing season. For more information see: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/voluntary-cancellation-pesticide-product-or-use.

If EPA determines that it is necessary to initiate cancellation of a registration for a pesticide, the following process is used: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-tolerances/pesticide-cancellation-under-epas-own-initiative.

EPA Extends Expiration Deadline for Pesticide Applicator Certification Plans

This original announcement was published by the EPA on December 17, 2021. Click here for more information.

Today, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing an extension to the expiration deadline of federal, state, territory, and tribal certification plans. The 2017 Certification of Pesticide Applicators final rule had set stronger standards for people who apply restricted use pesticides (RUPs) and required that states, territories, tribes and federal agencies with existing certification plans submit proposed modifications by March 4, 2020, to comply with the updated federal standards. As specified in the rule, existing certification plans remain in effect until EPA completes its reviews and approves the proposed plan modifications, or until those plans otherwise expire on March 4, 2022, whichever is earlier. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the complexity of plans, and the need for careful review of program-specific issues and questions, EPA is extending the existing plans’ expiration deadline from March 4, 2022, to November 4, 2022.

This interim final rule allows additional time for proposed certification plan modifications to continue being reviewed and approved by EPA without interruption to federal, state, territory, and tribal certification programs or to those who are certified to use RUPs under those programs. During the extension, EPA will issue a proposed rule and seek public comment through a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the need for extending the expiration date beyond November 4, 2022.

EPA has reviewed all proposed plan modifications and is making progress on sending agency comments to certifying authorities. To date, EPA has completed 45 final reviews of the 68 plans submitted by certifying authorities (states, territories, tribes and other federal agencies). During the extension, EPA and certifying authorities will continue to work together so that all plans meet the federal standards. EPA also intends to provide periodic notifications to the public when approvals have occurred. Any additional extension pursued by the Agency will be informed by both the progress on plan reviews and approvals during this extension period, and by the public comments on this interim final rule and the NPRM.

EPA encourages all stakeholders to submit comments on this current deadline extension, as well as comments on the need for, or concerns over, further extending the expiration date of existing plans. Comments submitted on this interim final rule will be considered in the development of the final rule.

EPA Decreases Annual Pesticide Registration Maintenance Fees

This original announcement was published by the EPA on December 10, 2021. Click here for more information.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing a notification informing pesticide registrants of a decrease in the annual pesticide registration maintenance fee. The fee for 2022 is $3,660 per product, an 8.5% decrease from the previous year.  

The Pesticide Registration Improvement Extension Act of 2018 (PRIA 4) authorizes the agency to collect an average of $31 million per year for each of the fiscal years 2019 through 2023 for a total of $155 million. With $92.6 million collected in the first three years, an additional $62.4 million may be collected in the remaining years of PRIA 4. Due to over 500 new products subject to the annual fee in the last two years, EPA has reduced the fee amount to avoid an over-collection of the fee in 2022. The new product fee amount is estimated to collect $31.2 million in fiscal year 2022, which is half of what EPA may still collect under PRIA 4. 

All registrants with Section 3 and Section 24(c) pesticide product registrations have received an email to notify them of this change. Registrants will need to access their product filing forms, pay maintenance fees and return completed documents to EPA for processing by Tuesday, January 18, 2022. 

For more information and to access instructions, the maintenance fee filing form, fee tables and product listings grouped by company numbers, please visit the Annual Pesticide Registration Maintenance Fees webpage 

EPA Announces Updated Schedule, Completes Safety Assessments and Decisions for Hundreds of Pesticides to Address Risk and Ensure Safe Pesticide Use

This original announcement was published by the EPA on December 2, 2021. Click here for more information!


Today, EPA is releasing the registration review schedule for the next four years through fiscal year 2025. While EPA has historically updated this schedule once each year, it will be updated on a quarterly basis going forward.

In 2007, an amendment to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) formalized a requirement that EPA review each registered pesticide at least every fifteen years. During the registration review process, EPA completes draft risk assessments, proposed interim decisions/proposed decisions, and interim decisions/final decisions. Throughout, EPA makes its information, assessments, and supporting material for each case available to the public through the case’s docket at regulations.gov.

Registration review ensures that, as the ability to assess risk evolves and as policies and practices change, the pesticide continues to meet the statutory standard of causing no unreasonable adverse effects on human health or the environment. When EPA identifies risks of concern to human health or the environment, it imposes pesticide label amendments designed to reduce risk. Mitigation measures can include the cancellation of uses or pesticide registrations, reduced application rates, spray drift restrictions, personal protective equipment, and advisory language, among myriad other options.

For the 726 pesticide cases that were registered before October 1, 2007, the amendment to FIFRA required EPA to complete its review by October 1, 2022. Working toward this goal over the past fifteen years, EPA has:

  • Issued more than 550 interim or final decisions,
  • Completed more than 600 proposed interim decisions,
  • Conducted more than 680 human health and ecological draft risk assessments (excluding endangered species assessments),
  • Imposed new risk mitigation requirements for 51 percent of antimicrobial pesticides and 70 percent of conventional pesticides for which EPA issued an interim or final decision, and
  • Cancelled some or all uses in 120 cases.

Today’s updated registration review schedule provides a roadmap for the next several years of EPA’s registration review program. For some pesticides registered before October 1, 2007, EPA anticipates that its review will extend beyond October 1, 2022 due to a number of challenges including delays in receiving data from registrants; the demands of responding to COVID-19; and a significant increase in recent years of resources devoted to litigation.

Complying with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is also part of the registration review process. Since 2007, EPA has completed ESA assessments for certain high priority pesticides and, in the coming years, plans to assess the effects of many more pesticides on endangered species in registration review. Further, in the coming months, the Agency will release its first ESA pesticides workplan, which will outline steps the Agency will take to come into compliance with the ESA in ways that are fair and transparent to the agriculture sector.

By following the science and making evidence-based decisions that rely on the input of career scientists, EPA will continue to ensure that risk assessments and regulatory decisions reflect the best available public health and ecological science.

Visit EPA’s website for more information on the registration review process and the updated schedule of upcoming registration review actions.

EPA Publishes Memorandum Containing Revised Framework and Response to Comments to Improve Pest Resistance for Plant-Incorporated Protectants

This original announcement was published by the EPA on December 1, 2021. Click here for more information.


Today, EPA published a memorandum addressing resistance risks to lepidopteran pests of corn and cotton containing the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Plant-Incorporated Protectant (PIP). Bt PIPs, which are pesticidal substances genetically engineered into corn and cotton to control insect pests, are one of the safest methods of insect control, and, when used properly, they can greatly reduce the need for conventional pesticides. However, since commercialization of Bt PIPs, some species of lepidopteran pests of corn and cotton have developed resistance to certain Bt toxins. 

In 2018, EPA hosted a Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) to help pesticide registrants better detect and manage arising resistance cases. In 2020, utilizing many of the recommendations from SAP experts, EPA released a draft framework for pest resistance management for public comment. 

Following the 2020 public comment period, EPA revised the framework to incorporate recommendations regarding key pest resistance management components. This includes, but is not limited to, changes to the resistance definition, resistance monitoring, mitigation methods, annual reporting and product phase downs. 

The memorandum released today includes EPA’s response to comments received during the 2020 comment period and a revised framework for pest resistance management that incorporates stakeholder feedback. This framework is intended to extend the longevity of Bt PIPs as effective pest management tools. 

Moving forward, the agency will work with Bt PIP registrants to amend their existing product registrations to be consistent with the revised framework. EPA expects to finalize the framework in 2022. 

View the memorandum. 

Learn more about Bt PIPs and pest resistance management strategies.