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Letter to the Hon. Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator - Ecological Risk Assessment for Atrazine

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.


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