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.