This original announcement was published by the EPA on February 7, 2022. Click here for more information.
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule seeking public comment on the need to extend the deadline up to but no longer than November 4, 2024 for states, territories, tribes and federal agencies with existing certification plans to comply with the updated federal standards under the 2017 Certification of Pesticide Applicators rule.
The 2017 Certification of Pesticide Applicators final rule 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. In December 2021, EPA issued an interim final rule extending the existing plans’ expiration deadline from March 4, 2022, to November 4, 2022, 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 requesting comments on the potential need to further extend the expiration date of existing certification plans which would allow for certifying authorities that need more time to respond to EPA comments and prepare approvable certification plans. Also, EPA will have more time to work with the certifying authorities to assure that their proposed certification plan modifications meet current federal standards without interruption to Federal, State, territory, and tribal certification programs or to those who are certified to use RUPs under those programs.
EPA has reviewed all proposed plan modifications and is making progress on sending agency comments to certifying authorities (states, territories, tribes and other federal agencies). To date, EPA has completed 55 final reviews of the 68 plans submitted by certifying authorities.
Comments submitted on the interim final rule and on this proposed rule will be used to inform a further extension. The comment period for the proposed rule is open for 30 days in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2021-0831 at www.regulations.gov.