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Craig Secures Senate Support For Pesticide Registration Improvement Act

Washington, DC - After months of negotiations by industry, environmental organizations and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials, Idaho Senator Larry Craig secured unanimous Senate support of the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act of 2003, S. 1664, as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2004 Veterans Affairs, Housing, Urban Affairs and Independent Agencies appropriations bill. The legislation would speed up the process of reviewing pesticide applications and address the backlog of pending registrations and at the same time raise approximately $85 million to $90 million in new enhanced registration and service fees during the next five years. Senator Craig, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the bill was developed by consensus and will provide a stable source of funding for EPAĆ¢??s Office of Pesticide Programs and to end the five-year stalemate over pesticide fees. "This legislation is a critical step toward streamlining and improving the registration process for crop protection chemicals crucial to producers. It has strong support from both parties and from both the environmental community and agricultural industry. We are helping the EPA to have a stable and predictable source of funding to complete the assessment and review of these products that have fallen victim to a long, drawn-out review process. Our intent is to provide producers better access to the products needed for production and to reduce the problems typically faced for retailers to obtain these items," Senator Craig said.Senator Mike Crapo, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, was a co-sponsor of the measure."Our growers need timely access to the tools necessary to ensure that their crops make it to market," said Senator Mike Crapo, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. "We must have the ability to respond quickly to the ever changing diseases and pests that threaten crop production and make more environmentally friendly products available soon after they are being developed. This amendment would provide the resources necessary for timely and thorough review and registration of pesticides by ensuring that the fees collected for registration will go toward their intended purpose." The legislation would establish a performance-based approach to pesticide registrations that would generate sufficient funds to ensure effective and efficient pesticide regulation. It would ensure sound science is used and rigorous standards maintained while reducing the time required to get new and safer products to market. In addition, it would protect small businesses and minor use products and provide funding for worker protection.Further action on the underlying appropriations bill remains pending before the Senate. After Senate passage, a joint conference committee will work out differences between the versions of the bill passed by the Senate and House of Representatives.[30]