(Beyond Pesticides, November 20, 2009) Three companies in Washington, Oregon and Idaho are the target of enforcement actions for their failure to follow federal pesticide laws, according to orders issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The fines range from $1,280 to $28,080, and are characterized by safety advocates as a mere slap on the wrist for violations that the EPA says pose public safety hazards.
J.R. Simplot Company of Boise, Idaho; Agricare of Amity, Ore.; and Northwest Agricultural Products of Pasco, Wash. violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) at their respective facilities, according to the EPA.
Numerous other violations of FIFRA this past year have led to EPA fines or lawsuits, including several in the state of Washington last spring. In October, EPA fined Samsung for violating the federal pesticide law when it publicized that its keyboards, produced with nanosilver, were antimicrobial and inhibited germs and bacteria without registering its products. EPA also filed suit against VF Corporation for the sale and distribution of unregistered pesticides through its retail company, The North Face.
“Companies that produce pesticides but fail to register their facilities or submit required reports are not only operating illegally, but also pose a safety hazard to the public,” said Scott Downey, manager of EPA’s pesticide unit in the Seattle office. “Knowing where pesticides are produced provides vital information to EPA and to responders in the event of a spill or natural disaster.”
Here are the latest three companies that have been targeted as violating FIFRA:
J.R. Simplot Company
J.R. Simplot Company is being fined $28,080 for failing to register two pesticide facilities.
A facility in Grafton, N.D. owned and operated by J.R. Simplot produced three pesticides in 2008 but inactivated its registration in 2002 and did not register until 2009, according to an EPA order. Facilities must be actively registered with EPA to produce pesticides.
An additional facility in Moorhead, Minnesota produced six pesticides in 2008, but was inactivated in 1996 and did not reactivate until 2009.
These violations were processed through EPA Region 10 because the J.R. Simplot Company headquarters is located in Idaho.
Agricare is being fined $2,160 for failing to register a pesticide facility.
The facility in Amity, Ore. produced a pesticide in 2008, but did not register until 2009, in violation of FIFRA.
Northwest Agricultural Products
Northwest Agricultural products is being fined $1,280 for failing to submit yearly reports on time that document the types and amounts of pesticides produced and distributed. These reports are due March 1 for the previous calendar year.
The company submitted its report for 2006 on March 6, 2007. For 2008 it submitted its report on July 17, 2009.
In order to be effective or to have any relevance, environmental laws, like other laws, must be enforced. Pesticides are regulated primarily under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, which authorizes EPA to oversee the registration, distribution, sale, and use of pesticides. States are authorized to regulate pesticides under FIFRA and under state pesticide laws, which differ from state to state. Pesticide application must be consistent with both federal and state laws. When it comes to enforcement, states have primary authority for compliance monitoring and enforcing against use of pesticides in violation of the law, efforts that are supported with a grant from the federal government. Generally, many pesticide complaints arise because the pesticide was used in violation of labeling requirements, applied at the wrong location, or because of pesticide drift.
For more information on the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, go to: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/regulating/laws.htm
If you believe that a pesticide application violates the law, or you believe that the application has harmed you or the environment, there are some measures you can take. For a list of these, please visit Getting the Pesticide Law Enforced and What To Do in a Pesticide Emergency.