Ken Buck Leads Bi-Partisan Letter to Save Corn, Sugar Cane, and Sorghum Producers
For Immediate Release
Contact: Kyle Huwa, 202-225-4676
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Ken Buck, along with 105 of his colleagues, sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy regarding the ecological risk assessment for atrazine, one of the most commonly used herbicides in the United States. Even though atrazine has been safely and effectively used by corn, sugar cane, and sorghum growers for decades, the EPA’s draft risk assessment greatly restricts the use of atrazine, effectively banning this vital herbicide. The bi-partisan letter demands that the EPA uses sound science and takes into account the needs of farmers when finalizing the assessment.
“Our corn and sorghum farmers in Colorado already face a number of federal regulations that make their jobs harder,” Congressman Ken Buck stated. “I urge the EPA to rethink their approach to atrazine, using sound science and listening to the concerns of farmers instead of barreling forward with flawed research.”
Atrazine has been a staple herbicide used by farmers for more than 50 years. Without atrazine, conservation efforts would be more difficult and the agricultural community would have to turn to more expensive and environmentally harmful pesticides. An economic analysis by Don Coursey, Ameritech Professor of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, showed that without atrazine, farmers could end up losing $59 per acre. Small family farmers would be especially hurt if their access to this safe and effective herbicide was limited.
A copy of the letter can be found on Rep. Buck’s website or below:
Dear Madam Administrator:
The undersigned Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are writing to express our concern with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) draft ecological risk assessment on atrazine. In its present form, it would have a significant negative impact on farmers and rural communities nationwide.
Atrazine has been used for decades as an effective herbicide for tens of thousands of growers, and it is particularly important for corn, sugar cane and sorghum producers. Moreover, it is one of the most thoroughly studied herbicides used today, accounting for nearly 7,000 scientific studies. Unfortunately, EPA’s draft ecological risk assessment throws its future use into doubt, an outcome that, according to many, may not be scientifically justified. This criticism appears to be borne out by the agency’s approach, where it is setting standards on studies that the EPA’s own Science Advisory Panel considered “flawed” in 2012.
When used properly and in accordance with label instructions, atrazine is one of the most vital herbicides available to farmers. It has been used safely for more than fifty years and is a critical tool in assuring the sustainability of many farms nationwide. Farmers are great stewards of their land, and they understand the importance of using safe products on their crops. Limiting atrazine would create a reliance on more expensive and environmentally harmful pesticides, and make conservation efforts more difficult by impeding farming methods such as no-till or strip-till.
It would be irresponsible to greatly restrict one of the safest and most trusted herbicides on the market. Various economic analysis studies show farming without atrazine could cost growers up to $59 per acre. This is especially detrimental to the small family farms that would be hurt by an unsubstantiated government decision.
With this information in mind we ask that you take into account the needs of farmers and use sound science when finalizing the ecological risk assessment for atrazine. It is imperative that EPA take the science and public comments seriously and revise the preliminary ecological risk assessment using the best available data. We look forward to your response.