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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pesticide Registration and Tolerance Fees: An Overview

Robert Esworthy
Specialist in Environmental Policy

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for regulating the sale, use, and distribution of pesticides under the authority of two statutes. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) (7 U.S.C.136-136y), a licensing statute, requires EPA to review and register the use of pesticide products. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) (21 U.S.C. 346a) requires the establishment of maximum limits (tolerances) for pesticide residues on food in interstate commerce. EPA was also required to reevaluate older, registered pesticides (i.e., "reregistration" for pesticides registered prior to 1984, and more recently, registration review) and to reassess existing tolerances (i.e., tolerance reassessment) to ensure they meet current safety standards. Although U.S. Treasury revenues cover most costs for administering these acts, fees paid by pesticide manufacturers and other registrants have supplemented EPA appropriations for many years as a means of increasing the pace of the agency's activities under FIFRA and FFDCA. 

The Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA 1), included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2004 (P.L. 108-199, Title V of Division G), enacted on January 23, 2004, amended FIFRA and modified the framework for collecting fees to enhance and accelerate the agency's pesticide licensing (registration) activities. The amendments included reauthorization of maintenance fees primarily to support activities related to existing registrations, and established registration service fees to be submitted with applications for new registrations. The Pesticide Registration Improvement Renewal Act, or PRIA 2 (P.L. 110-94), enacted October 9, 2007, reauthorized and revised these fee provisions, which would have expired at the end of FY2008. In February 2010, EPA reported the completion of 1,570 registration and reregistration decisions subject to PRIA during FY2009, for a total of 7,530 since the enactment of PRIA 1 in 2004. For FY2009, EPA reported expending $18.5 million of the $25.5 million received in the form of new registration fees collected in FY2009 ($16.1 million in net receipts) and carried forward from FY2008 ($9.4 million). 

Authority for collecting pesticide fees dates back to the 1954 FFDCA amendments (P.L. 518; July 22, 1954), which, as passed, required the collection of fees "sufficient to provide adequate service" for establishing maximum residue levels (tolerances) for pesticides on food. Authority to collect fees was expanded with the 1988 FIFRA amendments (P.L. 100-532). The 1996 amendments to FIFRA and FFDCA, or the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) (P.L. 104-170), extended EPA's authority to collect certain fees through FY2001. Congress extended this authority annually through appropriations legislation prior to the enactment of PRIA in 2004. 

The FY1998-FY2004 President's budget requests included proposals to modify existing fee structures to further increase revenues for pesticide activities. These proposals were not adopted in legislation and in some cases specifically prohibited by Congress. In each fiscal year budget request since PRIA was enacted in 2004, EPA has included proposals to further increase pesticide fees beyond those authorized. These proposals were not adopted by Congress in each year through FY2010. The FY2011 President's budget request included similar proposals to provide for the collection of additional pesticide fees.

Date of Report: August 11, 2010
Number of Pages: 30
Order Number: RL32218
Price: $29.95

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