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Monday, November 26, 2012

Pesticide Registration and Tolerance Fees: An Overview

Robert Esworthy
Specialist in Environmental Policy

The Pesticide Registration Improvement Extension Act of 2012 (PRIA 3; P.L. 112-177), enacted September 28, 2012, amended the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) to reauthorize and revise, through FY2017, the collection and use of fees to enhance and accelerate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) pesticide licensing (registration) activities. Among other provisions, P.L. 112-177 increases the amounts of certain fees, revises the schedule for fee assessment and review deadlines for reviewing specific registration decisions, modifies provisions for small business reductions of fees, adds provisions for the enhancement of pesticide decision information tracking systems and for initial content preliminary screening activities, and eliminates pre-PRIA reregistration fee (1988) authorities. The Pesticide Registration Improvement Renewal Act (PRIA 2; P.L. 110-94), enacted October 9, 2007, and which was set to expire at the end of FY2012, reauthorized and revised fee collection provisions first established under the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA 1), included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2004 (P.L. 108-199), enacted January 23, 2004.

EPA is responsible for regulating the sale, use, and distribution of pesticides under the authority of two statutes. FIFRA (7 U.S.C. §136-136y), a licensing statute, requires EPA to review and register the use of pesticide products. 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 to ensure they meet current safety standards. Although U.S. Treasury revenues cover much of the costs for administering these acts, various fees paid by pesticide manufacturers and other registrants have supplemented EPA appropriations for many years as a means intended to, in part, increase the pace of the agency’s activities under FIFRA and FFDCA.

In March 2012, EPA reported the completion of 1,554 pesticide registration-related decisions subject to PRIA 2 during FY2011, for a total of 10,591 decisions since the enactment of PRIA 1 in 2004. For FY2011, EPA reported expending $14.3 million of the $19.0 million available revenues comprised of $11.6 million in net receipts of new registration service fees collected in FY2011 and $7.4 million carried forward from FY2010. Expenditures decreased by 21% in FY2011 compared to $18.2 million in FY2010, primarily as a result of reductions in PRIA receipts received in FY2011. FY2010 net receipts of new registration fees were $18.6 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 1 (P.L. 108- 199) in 2004. Since 1998, Presidents’ budget requests have included proposals to modify existing fee structures to further increase revenues for pesticide activities, but were not adopted in legislation and in some cases specifically prohibited by Congress. The FY2013 President’s budget request, submitted to Congress February 13, 2012, did not include similar proposals for supplemental fees, but instead acknowledged the need for reauthorization of the current fees at increased levels to cover a greater portion of relevant program operating costs.

Date of Report: Novemberr 8, 2012
Number of Pages: 40
Order Number: RL32218
Price: $29.95

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