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tv   EPA Meeting on Endangered Species Act Pesticide Rules  CSPAN  June 15, 2019 7:32am-8:01am EDT

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>> on tuesday c-span's road to the white house coverage continues with donald trump's announcement that he will be running for a second term, joined by first lady milania trump and vice president mike pence at campaign rally in orlando. you can watch the announcement live tuesday at 8:00 eastern on ibly3. >> the environmental protection agency is working to revise its process for assisting pesticide risks to endangered species. up next on ibly3 and interagency working group convened at its headquarters to discuss the issue. >> good morning and welcome to the first meeting of the farm bill endangered species act
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interagency working group. i'm alexandra dunn, administrator for chemicals and pesticides that epa. we are pleased to have this group continue the good work that began early in the administration and thank you for joining us today. we know how busy your schedules are and how difficult it is to get a group of this caliber together at the same time. your attendance today demonstrates a clear commitment across the administration to implement a strategy to improve the endangered species act consultation process for pesticides. the farm bill passed this esteemed group, with various stakeholders, nongovernment organizations and others in a transparent manner and we are committed to maintaining that type of process. i now am privileged to introduce the honorable epa administrator andrew wheeler.
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administrator wheeler has provided strong leadership to all of us here at the agency and is deeply committed to the issues the working group will assess. administrator wheeler. >> good morning and thank you for joining us today, thank you for the introduction and facilitating today's meeting. thank you for joining us on this important day, the 75th anniversary of d-day which donald trump and the rest of the free world honoring the forces that helped free a continent and we honor our world war ii veterans today, those who made the ultimate sacrifice on the shores of france. i'm honored to be joined by my dusting was colleagues, secretary bernhardt, secretary perdue, and chairman new meyer, thank you for your leadership on these issues. i'm glad to have the opportunity to kick off my first esa working group as administrator. my staff brought me up to speed on the origins of the working group that was the brainchild of epa staff at the beginning of the administration which led
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to our larger working group and where we are today. we look forward to picking up where we left off. improving coordination among the federal families is a top priority for donald trump and we are closer with my colleagues on a number of important interagency issues like food waste, protecting water quality. we've made great progress on those fronts and we are here to continue our progress in regulatory reform. january 2018, epa and commerce signed an mla establishing and interagency working group with providing recommendations to the agency's leadership on improving consultation process for pesticides. i have had several conversations with my colleagues on these issues, the working group was established because we all recognized that the consultation process was a broken process which is bad for endangered species and america's farmers and the regulated community. epa has 600 pesticide
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registration reviews to complete by 2022 and there's a lot of room for improvement in the consultation process. such as ensuring the use of real-world data and pesticide usage information. december of last year the working group convened at the staff level for epa to present a proposal for an improved method for listed species risk assessment process for pesticides. members agreed to provide feedback on the proposal and epa agreed to consider the comments and provide a response. than the new farm bill codified the interagency working group with epa serving as chair. last month epa issued the draft revised comments period. we also announced a june 10th public meeting to provide an opportunity for the public to ask questions and make comments. our ultimate goal is to carry out epa's responsibilities in
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compliance with esa without placing unnecessary burden on america's farmers and other pesticide users. there are significant resource challenges to comply with both. we will continue to collaborate with all of you to develop scientific approaches to this complex issue and create sustainable process for reviewing a given pesticide's affect on listed species designated critical habitat. 2018 interagency am oh a formally established the working group and laid out an action plan with several commitments. these commitments included one, analyzing the role of regulations in order to provide an outlying of legal and regulatory framework for pesticide consultations under the esa process. 2, reviewing past esa pesticide consultation practices to learn from recent experience, 3,
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preparing recommendations to improve scientific and policy approaches, for example developing a streamlined process for identifying which actions require no consultation, informal consultation or formal consultation and 4, documenting our strategy in a memorandum of understanding, revise regulations for another appropriate format that will promote lasting cooperation among the agencies. this work is critically important, so much so that congress agreed that codifying the existing working group into law in the 2018 farm bill. we will be providing congress with an update on our progress per their request in the new law and we will talk about that in the next portion of today's vision. we are mindful of our interagency work but we shouldn't lose sight of another critically important piece. we must continue to engage with industry, stakeholders, the public and ngos. each of the departments and agencies represented here today go out of their way to do that
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and will continue to do that throughout this process. as i see it there are few major objectives we hope to accomplish through the working group, together we will ensure the tasks mandated by the 2018 farm bill are met. epa will apply the improved method to the next set of chemicals to refine its effects and determinations of pesticide risks to listed species and their habitat. improved consultation process will result in a workable, sustainable process that sets forth realistic protections for listed species. finally the improved consultation process will withstand legal challenges because we will be collectively meeting the consultation requirements under esa. our ultimate goal is a streamlined esa consultation process that is protective of species, timely for registration review decisions and transparent to the public. i look forward to working with each of you to provide greater
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regulatory certainty to various farmers and other pesticide users. thank you for your time and attention and for joining us here at epa today. >> thank you for those remarks. i am not privileged to welcome you as the parent of agriculture secretary sonny perdue. usda has been a key collaborator with epa on agricultural production practices and we appreciate the leadership you and your agency provide on this important topic. >> thank you for convening this meeting again. i recall a little over a year ago prior to being codified in the 2018 farm bill this agency was the lead agency with the department of interior and affirmative commerce and department of agriculture met to go to the consultation
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process that you described. in today's environment there are a lot of people with a lot of scientific data and all this needs to be taken into consideration but it is very important for citizens at large, those concerned about the environment and is concerned about production and the use of pesticides be informed through a one federal decision and the frustrating part of meeting the consultation is when people go and do their own it makes it difficult. we i think have an obligation and expectation our scientists work together where there is scientific disagreement that it be peer-reviewed and understood and acknowledged in that way so hopefully codifying this consultation procedure will enable us to do that in a manner that will achieve a consensus report and report to the public for the very reasons you administered, you, administrator wheeler talked about and that is to ensure the
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public of the safety of products that are being used not only for them and their families but also the other creatures that god has made here. that is very important so i want to thank you for convening this as the first official codified consultation meeting here and we look forward to working with you as well as the council on environmental quality, public interior, department of commerce as well as you all in the environmental protection agency. obviously the issues at hand, endangered species act, consultations and registration of pesticides under the statutory, federal and sentencing side, fungicide, on a serious concern for america's production and farming community among many challenges today. as i mentioned in various public meetings, in the next 3
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decades we have a lot of mouths to feed. almost 10 billion people in the next near-term here will come of age, it will come quicker than you think and we've got to continue our amazing record of productivity in america and we have done it the utilization of products in the past so it is important we continue. production and yield will need to increase. that is the facts, to feed these people will need to increase. production tools are essential and that includes biotechnology tools, the kind of things being developed as we speak. i'm concerned that what we're hearing with the uncertainty over territory consultations providing certainty to the private sector we are having companies that are originating ideas in the united states threatening to move to other countries more accepting of
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these processes to create jobs and technology advances in other parts of the world. the united states has led in this. the reason we are the superpower in food production is we have been innovative and creative and had a regulatory framework that will allow us to facilitate safe utilization of crop protection chemicals that feeds all of our citizens and feeds much of the world. that is one of the challenges we have today. we need trade because our producers are so productive today and these could continue as we have this many mouths to feed but what we are concerned about, new technology coming on, new products and others, if they can't get certainty in a reasonable timeline they will move to other parts of the world in south america or the north and people willing to accept them even now so we have
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an opportunity i believe as mentioned when many of us met over a year ago, to get the process scientifically and legally fixed and i believe that will benefit every agency here but more importantly it will benefit society at large, those concerned about endangered species and those concerned about environmental safe use of products that would potentially affect those endangered species. it is important that we give clear direction and these consultations are important to do that. i would submit to you we have been talking about these for a number of months, time is of the essence, we need answers sooner rather later. every day of continued uncertainty hurts america's agriculture production and international competitiveness and we have a duty to solve
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this problem and our instruction and directions from donald trump are to do that. our partnership here now that it has been officially formalized, codified. i want to recommit usda to helping to provide the needed agricultural data to better inform the environmental process, consultation process. data available by the national agricultural statistical service is considered gold standard in the industry, the network of agricultural extension specialists on the ground, boots on the ground all across this country are outstanding resources for local information of impact regarding crops, pests and the best control methods for that. our office of pest management policy which has been working this group with over 9 years is available to help and facilitate this process. administrator, you talk about real world, i submit to you
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that the data -- we don't take educated guesses at the usda, we use real scientific data of integrity there, and for the purpose of esa consultations i would submit to you this is the best available data and will stand up to any peer-reviewed available. none of us can have a corner on the market. that's why we have to come together to have a consultation and have our best subject matter experts discuss among themselves by all means come to a consensus over advising the administrator what action you need to take through the epa so please allow me and let me know how the usda and our people can assist in getting some progress in this consultation process that will provide certainty to all stakeholders, those were concerned on either end of the spectrum and protect all species so thank you very much. >> thank you, secretary purdue. it is my privilege to welcome
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us department of the interior, secretary, the honorable david bernhardt. you have been a tireless leader and have been actively engaged with fish and wildlife services staff on the details of the esa consultation process for pesticides. thank you for joining us. >> good morning and thank you for the kind introduction. it would not be hyperbole to say pesticide consultations that are undergone might be the most difficult consultations either of the services have to perform in the reason that is is because our regulations when they were written in 1986 were written with a problem in mind that is sort of different than a nationwide consultation and they were written with something in mind like a potential road going through a refuge or some other federal
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action. our regulations are designed so that when you look at the action of something taking place and look at every single thing happening in that action area without the proposed action and add the new action, which makes the complexity of this problem very significant but the administration is completely committed to stepping up to this challenge and establishing a process that is both expedient, protect species and gives pesticide uses the regulatory assurance they require and we appreciate congress's work on this issue and for codifying and expanding the work that was established in the memorandum of agreement in january 2018 and as secretary purdue said this is not the first time the secretaries of the department of interior, congress, agriculture and the administrator of epa have met
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to work through this issue and i suspect it won't be the last. what is doi going to do to help here? i highlight two things particularly important to us that we are trying to do. first we are engaged in the process of updating our regulations and by doing that we can think about how to improve the consultation process as it relates to unique, broad type of applications and we are in the process and i believe those regulations will be shortly finalized. we are updating our species range benefits to have greater detail and ensure that when we look at where these pesticides might be applied and what their effects might be we have up-to-date information regarding species. in closing i look forward to working with the administrator and everybody here. and a full discussion and i appreciate the opportunity to be included today. >> thank you, secretary
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bernhardt. i now turn to the us department of commerce secretary, the honorable wilbur ross, we look forward to continued engagement by you and your team on issues of key interest to noah fisheries and the national marine fisheries service. >> thank you for that kind introduction. i'm pleased to be a member of the interagency working group addressing the impact of pesticides on species listed under the endangered species act. i look forward to working with all of you. the issues are important, complicated and controversial and they impact many millions of americans. it is always difficult to reach consensus when so many agencies are involved but we must work together to get it right. the commerce department national marine fisheries service has always collaborated closely with the department of
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the interior and agriculture, and the epa on assessing the impact of pesticides on endangered species. mss also regularly contacts other national, regional and state level stakeholders. since january 2018 our agencies have been working together on a memorandum of agreement to improve the process for consultations under the endangered species act. scientists at the national marine fisheries service are experts in environmental toxicology and marine biology. they specialize in evaluating accurate data, assessing risks, measuring the effects of chemicals on the environment and developing appropriate
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conservation and recovery strategies as required under the endangered species act. most recently the nm fs reviewed and commented on epa's draft proposal for new methodologies for interagency consultations on the use and impact of pesticides. this draft proposal is currently out for public comment. we will work together with epa to increase the accuracy and timeliness of rulings impacting the use of pesticides. most of this is dictated by court orders so there are many layers in the process of determining the need for and types of conservation measures required under the endangered species act.
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at mss, completed eight comprehensive biological opinions covering 30 active ingredients in pesticides. it is currently conducting one other review involving four pesticides. previous interagency pesticide consultations produce to multiple agreements on important aspects of the biology and toxicology used in the assessment. these assessments must meet legal requirements of the endangered species act and are monitored by the court and many other interested parties. this is a very complex set of issues including label instruction, actual versus authorized use and usage data. the best science must underpin our regulatory decisions.
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as required by the farm bill we look forward to continued collaboration with the other agencies on important needs such as the acquisition and analysis of accurate data. we look forward to continued work with the epa to increase the pace of consultations while discharging our legal obligations under the act. interagency consultation process will lead to the successful implementation of necessary risk reduction measures in compliance with the act. we commit to work with our federal agency partners to make the process of developing more efficient and more effective measures that protect endangered and threatened species in critical habitats,
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thank you. >> thank you, secretary ross. it is my pleasure to welcome the chairman of the council on environmental quality, the honorable mary neumeier. under chairman neumeier's leadership, there has been great leadership on this subject for the past two years. we appreciate chairman neumeier, your continued involvement in this work and thank you for being with us this morning. >> thank you for the introduction and for convening this meeting. i'm happy to be here with you today for the inaugural meeting of the farm bill's working group. in 2017 we began to work with all the agencies here on an effort to construct a new framework for pesticide consultation that is protective of listed species while enabling epa to meet its obligations. for decades epa and the services have worked to
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determine how best to fulfill esa's consultation requirements when registering and reregistering pesticides. this is included a variety of approaches over the years. it is included working with the national research council which issued a report in 2013 identifying categories of issues agencies seek to resolve and strategies to improve interagency coordination. addressing this issue has been a high priority for this administration which supports agricultural communities and rural prosperity and regulatory reform to support efficient and effective implementation of environmental laws while ensuring environmental protection. with leadership of everyone in this room today we were able in 2017 to successfully bring the relevant agencies together to focus on improving the process for pesticide consultations. this led to the memorandum of agreement which formally established the interagency
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working group in 2018. since its inception there has been significant efforts by the agencies to work to improve the timeliness and effectiveness of the consultation process and we thank all the agencies for their commitment to this group. this has been a productive and collaborative effort involving epa services, us department of agriculture. stakeholders across the spectrum have been supportive of these efforts and it has been said in december 2018 agricultural improvement act codified significant part of the memorandum of agreement and put epa in charge of the interagency agreement working group going forward. and remaining a member alongside other agencies. and committed to supporting the working group under the leadership of epa and continuing to work towards achieving the goal of the working group and the legislation. and looks forward to continuing to partner with epa and the services in usda as we work to develop scientific and policy
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approaches to increase the accuracy and timeliness of the process, the consultation in accordance with requirements of the endangered species act. >> thank you, chairman newmeyer. it has been extremely helpful to hear the various perspectives each of you bring to the table today. i think we have all heard and optimistic tone and deep awareness of the details of these issues and each of you have demonstrated that this group has great potential to make great progress. one of our next steps will be a meeting that we will hold on monday, a public meeting to review the revised esa biological evaluation method to be held on monday, june 10th at epa's potomac yard south building from 9:00 am to noon and many of you have your staff and experts joining us for that meeting. we invite you to participate and thank you for your commitment to hearing the clarifying questions from the
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stakeholders that many of you have alluded to have great interest in how we are moving forward on this program. at this point we will conclude the open press portion of the meeting and transferred to a deliberative discussion. thank you to members of the press who joined us today and our staff will be happy to escort you out the south entrance. >> and starting now, it is book tv on ibly3. .. >> moving political views. watch all that and more this weekend on booktv, television for serious readers. for a complete schedule, visit booktv.org or check

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