CRE Protests Agencies’ Use of Obviously Inaccurate and Unreliable Aquatic Models to Regulate Three Pesticides
One June 29-30, EPA, FWS, NOAA/NMFS and the Department of Agriculture held a public workshop. The agencies stated in a Federal Register notice that they intended this workshop
“to discuss potential refinements to the interim scientific methods used in the first nationwide draft biological evaluations for chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion, released for public comment on April 11, 2016. These interim scientific methods were developed by EPA and the Services, with collaboration from USDA on crop production, pesticide use,and the spatial footprint of agricultural use patterns, in response to the 2013 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report entitled, ‘Assessing Risks to Endangered and Threatened Species from Pesticides.'”
CRE representatives attended the Plenary Sessions of this Workshop. They also attended two Breakout Sessions devoted to problems with aquatic models that EPA and the Services are using to assess the three pesticides.
At the Plenary and Breakout Sessions, everyone including agency representatives agreed that these aquatic models have been demonstrated to be inaccurate and unreliable for their use on the three pesticides’ risk assessment. Possible ways to make these models accurate and reliable were discussed. However, implementing these fixes and determining whether they actually solve the problems would take more time than currently allocated under the agencies’ schedules. Consequently, EPA and the Services intend to make whatever changes they can make in the models within two or three months; then use the models to regulate the three pesticides even if the models still aren’t accurate and reliable.
In the Breakout Sessions, and during the concluding Plenary Session, CRE representatives made the following statement opposing any regulatory use of the aquatic models until and unless they have been demonstrated to be accurate and reliable in accordance with required procedures:
“The Pesticides in Water Calculator Shell is not accurate and reliable. Any revised model or different model must be demonstrated to be accurate and reliable for its intended use before it is used by the agencies. That demonstration must comply with the agencies’ quality standards and models guidance. That demonstration must be reviewed by EPA’s Science Advisory Panel. That demonstration and review cannot occur within the short time planned by the agencies for use of the model to regulate chlorpyrifos, diazinon and/or malathion.
This model should not be used for these three products, or for anything else, until and unless it has been properly validated.
The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness dissents from any charge responses that are inconsistent with our position stated above.”
CRE previously submitted comments to the agencies explaining the procedures governing evaluation of the models for possible regulatory use.