June 1, 2017

EPA Delays Final Rule on Worker Protection Standard

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it will extend the deadline on implementation of the recently revised provisions to the Worker Protection Standard (WPS) for agricultural pesticides. The deadline will be extended until necessary guidance and training have been completed to ready state agencies to implement the changes.

The announcement came in a May 11 letter from Wendy Cleland-Hamnett, acting assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, to the CEO of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA).  NASDA requested EPA to extend the WPS “until at least January 2, 2018, or until adequate enforcement guidance, educational materials, and training resources have been completed and the state lead agencies have the tools, time, and resources necessary to effectively implement the rule changes and assist the regulated community with compliance activities.”

The WPS final rule went into effect on January 1, 2016, and on January 4, 2017, agricultural employers and handler employers were required to comply with all of the new requirements set forth in the final rule – with the exception of two requirements that would be implemented not before January 2018.  The final rule would, among other things, prohibit applications within 100 feet of workers for “aerial, air blast, fumigant, smoke, mist and fog applications” as well as very fine or fine droplet sized applications.

EPA is also considering extending the effective date of a final rule concerning the certification of applicators of restricted use pesticides. The rule had been scheduled to go into effect in March before being extended until June 5.  The EPA is now considering extending the effective date to May 22, 2018.

For additional information, contact Jason Resnick at (949) 885-2253.