Farm Bureau urges protection of regulatory framework
February 19, 2020 – Maryland Farm Bureau urges the General Assembly to maintain the integrity of the current regulatory framework used to administer crop protectant usage by supporting Maryland Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) proposal for a swift phase-out of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide used by farmers to mitigate the damage caused by harmful insects to crops.
The legislature is currently debating whether or not to support SB 300 and HB 229 which would result in an outright and immediate ban on a valuable crop protectant of last resort for farmers. Legislating bans on these products circumvents long-standing regulatory processes that are thoroughly vetted using reputable peer-reviewed science. The passage of any legislation that would disrupt the long-standing precedent of using a regulatory process to review the use of crop protectants would be detrimental to the success and viability of farming in the state.
A legislative ban would still require MDA to promulgate regulations to implement the ban. Moving forward with these bills would be duplicative to a regulatory process that has already started. We support MDA’s proactive approach in determining how to best move forward with an accelerated phase-out that allows farmers time to identify alternative or replacement products for the upcoming growing seasons.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a rigorous process in place for the review and approval of crop protectants, and MDA is charged with regulating those products at the state level according to EPA’s direction. A regulatory ban on chlorpyrifos usage, in place of a legislative ban, would achieve the exact same goal that many have in eliminating its use in Maryland. However, the regulatory phase-out protects the integrity of the existing administrative approach to pesticide regulation with greater certainty and time to make adjustments for our farmers.