Digest of Federal Resource Laws of Interest to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act of 1972

Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act of 1972 (7 USC 136-136y, P.L. 92-516, October 21, 1972, 86 Stat. 973) as amended by: P.L. 93-205, December 28, 1973, 87 Stat. 903; P.L. 94-140, November 28, 1975, 89 Stat. 751; P.L. 95-396, September 30, 1978, 92 Stat. 819; P.L. 98-201, December 2, 1983, 97 Stat. 1379; and P.L. 100-202, December 22, 1987, 101 Stat. 1329.

The Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act of 1972, enacted as P.L. 92-516, amended the 1947 Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (P.L. 80-102, June 25, 1947, 61 Stat. 163).

The 1947 statute (FIFRA) prohibited the sale or distribution of "economic poisons," provided for the registration of such materials, and authorized penalties for violation of the Act.

The 1972 amendments established, under the Administrator of EPA, a program for controlling the sale, distribution, and application of pesticides through an administrative registration process. The amendments provided for classifying pesticides for "general" or "restricted" use. "Restricted" pesticides may only be applied by or under the direct supervision of a certified applicator.

The amendments also authorized experimental use permits and provided for administrative review of registered pesticides and for penalties for violations of the statute. States were authorized to regulate the sale or use of any pesticide within a state, provided that such regulation does not permit any sale or use prohibited by the Act.

The Endangered Species Act of 1972 amended FIFRA to define imminent hazard to include situations involving unreasonable hazard to the survival of a species declared by the Secretary of the Interior to be endangered or threatened (P.L. 93-205, December 28, 1987, 87 Stat. 903).

The 1975 amendments to FIFRA (P.L. 94-140, November 28, 1975, 89 Stat. 751) required that the EPA Administrator consider the impacts of regulatory actions on production and prices of agricultural commodities and to notify the Secretary of Agriculture in advance of related rulemaking. Experimental use permits were also authorized for agricultural research activities.

The 1978 amendments to FIFRA (P.L. 95-396, September 30,1978, 92 Stat. 819) reauthorized appropriations and stipulated the authorized uses of data supplied by an applicant seeking to register pesticides, as well as procedures to be followed by EPA if additional data is needed to support an existing pesticide registration. In addition, the amendments provided clarification of State authority to regulate the sale or use of pesticides and stipulated that States have primary responsibility for pesticide use violations, provided that they have adopted adequate pesticide use laws and regulations.

Amendments enacted in 1983 (P.L. 98-201, December 2, 1983, 97 Stat. 1379) authorized appropriations through FY 1984.

The 1987 amendments to FIFRA (P.L. 100-202, December 22, 1987, 101 Stat. 1329) prohibited EPA from canceling any pesticide registrations prior to September 15, 1988, for failure to comply with EPA's endangered species-related labeling regulations.

Amendments were again made on October 25, 1988, P.L. 100-532, The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Amendments (102 Stat. 2655, 2677, 2679). Substantive changes which impact the Fish and Wildlife Service were not made.

As part of amendments passed on November 28, 1990 (P.L. 101-624, 104 Stat. 3628), a Biological Pesticide Handling Study was mandated. The study was to review the biological control programs and registration procedures utilized by the Food and Drug Administration, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Upon completion of the study, the Secretary of the Interior, in cooperation with the Administrator of the EPA and the Secretary of Agriculture were to begin an educational outreach program to inform persons engaged in agricultural commodity production of any proposed pesticide labeling programs or requirements which may be imposed in compliance with the Endangered Species Act. A study to identify reasonable and prudent means available to implement the endangered species labeling program in compliance with the Endangered Species Act was also mandated.

Amendments were again made on December 13, 1991(P.L. 102-237, 105 Stat. 1894-1896) which changed registration and re-registration requirements for pesticides.

The last legislative action taken on this act was in the August 3, 1996 amendments (P.L. 104-170, 110 Stat. 1492). As with the 1991 amendments, changes were made to pesticide registration and re-registration procedures. Finally, the 1996 amendments also extended the authorization of appropriations.

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