[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 160 (Friday, August 17, 2012)]
[Pages 49792-49793]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-20237]



[EPA-HQ-OPP-2012-0442; FRL-9356-5]

FIFRA Pesticide Registration Review and ESA Consultation 
Processes; Proposal Regarding Stakeholder Input; Request for Comment

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: EPA is seeking public comment on a proposal to enhance 
opportunities for stakeholders to provide input during its review of 
pesticide registrations under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and 
Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and associated consultations under Section 7 of 
the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The proposal was jointly prepared by 
EPA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Marine 
Fisheries Service (NMFS) in the U.S. Department of Commerce and the 
Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in the U.S. Department of Interior. 
The proposal describes significant changes to EPA's registration review 
process which are intended to facilitate ESA pesticide consultations 
and coordination across these Federal agencies, and calls for a greater 
role for USDA.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before October 16, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by docket identification 
(ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2012-0442, by one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Do not submit 
electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business 
Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted 
by statute.
     Mail: OPP Docket, Environmental Protection 
Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), Mail Code: 28221T, 1200

[[Page 49793]]

Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001.
     Hand Delivery: To make special arrangements for 
hand delivery or delivery of boxed information, please follow the 
instructions at http://www.epa.gov/dockets/contacts.htm. Additional 
instructions on commenting or visiting the docket, along with more 
information about dockets generally, is available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Richard P. Keigwin, Jr., Pesticide Re-
evaluation Division (7510P), Office of Pesticide Programs, 
Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., 
Washington, DC 20460-0001; telephone number: (703) 308-8000; fax 
number: (703) 308-8005; email address: keigwin.richard@epa.gov.


I. What action is the Agency taking?

    EPA is taking public comment on a document entitled, ``Proposal for 
Enhancing Stakeholder Input in the Pesticide Registration Review and 
ESA Consultation Processes and Development of Economically and 
Technologically Feasible Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives,'' a copy 
of which is available in the docket at http://www.regulations.gov under 
docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2012-0442. The document describes proposed 
changes to EPA's pesticide registration review program and how it 
conducts consultation with the Services under Section 7 of the ESA.

II. Why is the Agency taking this action?

    In an effort to be responsive to stakeholders' desires for a 
mechanism to get information into the registration review process as 
early as possible, EPA proposes to hold ``Focus'' meetings at the start 
of registration review for each active ingredient. In response to 
stakeholders' desires for a more open, reliable, and transparent 
pesticide consultation process, EPA proposes to initiate any needed 
formal ESA consultations at a later stage in the review process. 
Consulting later in the registration review process allows EPA to 
develop more refined ecological risk assessments and to engage affected 
stakeholders in discussions that should result in more focused 
consultation packages inclusive of mitigation for listed species. There 
is an emerging consensus that EPA and the Services should engage 
informally and early in the consultation process, but that formal 
consultation should be reserved until EPA's ecological risk assessment 
and proposed decision are more fully formed. This approach has the 
potential to maximize the opportunity to effect changes that provide 
protections for species and their designated critical habitat, lessen 
the impacts on agriculture, and narrow the scope of the Federal action.
    Additionally, the proposal describes EPA's plans to reach out to 
pesticide users potentially affected to discuss the technological and 
economic feasibility of ``Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives'' (RPAs) 
intended to avoid jeopardy to threatened and/or endangered species. The 
USDA's relationships with the agricultural community provide a critical 
link between EPA's expertise on pesticides and the Services' expertise 
on listed species' locations, status and biology.
    Finally, the proposal describes the process by which public 
comments received on RPAs will be summarized and organized by EPA and 
provided to the Services, who will prepare a document to be included in 
the administrative record of the consultation explaining how comments 
were considered, and if appropriate, how the final biological opinion 
was modified to address the comments. The Services will provide the 
document to EPA, and both the Services and EPA will make the document 
available to the public upon request. These process changes are 
intended to provide clarity and transparency to the ESA Section 7 
consultation process for pesticides.
    EPA and the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Interior are 
taking this action because many stakeholders have expressed concerns 
regarding the apparent lack of transparency surrounding ESA 
consultations on pesticide registration review decisions, and the need 
for increased access to the decision-making process by states and other 
stakeholders for the purpose of providing relevant data for 
consideration during registration review and accompanying ESA 
consultation. Increasing public participation opportunities during both 
the registration review and accompanying ESA consultation processes, 
and improving clarity and transparency during these processes are 
important goals of this action.
    In the interest of facilitating discussion and providing 
clarification on the process changes described in the proposal, EPA and 
the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Interior are willing to 
meet with affected stakeholders. Individuals and/or organizations 
wanting to meet with the agencies to discuss this proposal should 
submit a request to the docket.

List of Subjects

    Environmental protection, Endangered species, Pesticides and pests, 
Threatened species.

    Dated: August 3, 2012.
Steven Bradbury,
Director, Office of Pesticide Programs.
[FR Doc. 2012-20237 Filed 8-16-12; 8:45 am]