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Mr. LUCAS. Mr. Speaker, I rise to voice my support of S. 3552, the Pesticide Registration Improvement Extension Act of 2012, and recognize myself for such time as I may consume.
I want to first thank my colleague, the Ranking Member for his assistance with this legislation. This bill has been included in the Agriculture Committee reported farm bill which we hope to consider in due course.
While there are many USDA-related programs reauthorized in the committee legislation, this one is among a small list of anomalies in that it is a program administered by the EPA. Additionally, the absence of this reauthorization would necessitate significant increases in appropriations to cover the shortfall, as well as risk the imposition of exorbitant costs on our constituents further jeopardizing an already abysmal economic recovery.
The original Pesticide Registration Improvement Act, PRIA, was a landmark law enacted on January 23, 2004. Congress reauthorized PRIA, now known as ``PRIA 2'', for another five years on October 9, 2007. PRIA reinvented EPA's procedures for processing applications for pesticide registrations and other related actions, including establishing specific timelines with corresponding fee schedules.
Under PRIA 1, the Agency's Office of Pesticide Programs was required to process applications within timeframes specified for each of the 50 categories of registration actions. That number has since increased, and would be set at 189 under the proposed reauthorization.
PRIA retained and increased the product maintenance fees that support re-registration and tolerance reassessment authorized under the Food Quality Protection Act. Pesticide registrants paid $110 million in maintenance fees during the authorization of PRIA and registrants are scheduled to pay $139 million in maintenance fees for the five year period to be covered by the proposed ``PRIA 3.''
PRIA established a prohibition against the collection of other registration fees, as distinct from registration service fees, authorized under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, FIFRA. PRIA also suspended the Agency's authority to collect tolerance fees which had been authorized by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, FFDCA.
In the absence of this reauthorization, substantially higher fees whose authority is suspended by this legislation would be collected with the revenue going directly to the U.S. Treasury where it would be unavailable to EPA's Pesticide Program. This would necessitate the discretionary appropriation of new funds to carry out pesticide review activities and eliminate the transparency and accountability measures enacted in PRIA which have placed effective checks on the EPA.
The legislation before us today: extends the authority of EPA to collect maintenance fees until 2017; extends the prohibition on collection of other registration and tolerance fees to 2019 and 2017, respectively; establishes a small business cap; allocates funds for EPA to use for the enhancement and improvement of ``IT'' systems for the registration of pesticides and tracking of key information; amends the percentage of maintenance fees devoted to review of inert ingredients; increases registration service fees during the life of PRIA 3 by 2.5 percent; provides that the Administrator shall identify reforms in processing that would allow it to improve decision times beyond those provided for in the Act; and cites new schedule of decision review times.
I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.
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