EPA reverses course, expands use of Enlist products throughout Minnesota

March 29, 2022 / Categories: Uncategorized

After a robust advocacy push from the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and the nation’s soybean farmers, the U.S. EPA reviewed its proposed label amendment and has now approved the use of Enlist One and Enlist Duo in 134 additional counties, including six Minnesota counties, providing growers with additional weed management options for the 2022 growing season. The EPA said the announcement underscores its commitment to working with stakeholders when new information becomes available to make regulatory decisions that reflect the best available science and protect human health and the environment.

Now, farmers throughout Minnesota will have a chance to safely use this product in battling yield-damaging weeds. Clay, Marshall, Polk, Redwood, Renville and Stearns counties can all now apply Enlist Duo in 2022.

“This announcement shows the importance of engaging with regulators,” MSGA President Mike Skaug said. “Without the advocacy efforts of our members and leadership, growers likely would have been unable to have this tool in their toolbox.”

Enlist One and Enlist Duo, two herbicides used to control weeds in conventional and genetically-modified corn, cotton, and soybean crops, can now be used in all counties of Arkansas, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

“Corteva Agriscience is working on behalf of our customers to see as many labeled-off counties reinstated as possible while still protecting listed species and their habitats,” said Susanne Wasson, president, crop protection business platform for Corteva Agriscience. “American Burying Beetle and Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake counties were prioritized because they represent the majority of restricted acres and getting them back on the label allows more growers access to this critical weed control technology for 2022.”

In March 2022, Corteva also submitted a label amendment to propose use of Enlist Duo in six Minnesota counties. EPA previously prohibited use in these counties because the Agency expected that the use of Enlist Duo would likely jeopardize the Eastern Massasauga rattle snake exposed on-field. However, EPA’s prior analyses were based on FWS’s 2020 species range maps. EPA subsequently learned that FWS updated their species range map in 2021, which shows that the Eastern Massasauga rattle snake is no longer present in Minnesota. Therefore, EPA has now determined that the prohibition of Enlist Duo in these counties is no longer necessary. In addition, EPA evaluated whether the use of Enlist Duo would affect other off-field listed species that live in these counties. EPA now expects that, given the current mitigations on the product labels, these products will not likely jeopardize listed species or adversely modify critical habitats. The current mitigations will also reduce unintentional harm (i.e., “take”) to individuals of all listed species in these counties.

“We’re very happy to see this senseless regulation has been revoked,” MSGA Executive Director Joe Smentek said.”With all the supply chain issues agriculture continues to face, it’s crucial that farmers are able to use this technology to maintain profitability.”

In January 2022, EPA issued seven-year registrations for these Enlist products. At that time, Enlist One and Enlist Duo were not approved for use in all counties of the United States. Counties were prohibited if they were not proposed for use by the product registrant, Corteva, or if EPA expected the use of Enlist products would likely affect or jeopardize federally threatened or endangered (listed) species that live on-field in a county.

“County-level bans had growers in these areas anxious and frustrated when the announcement came out in January – especially in this market where inputs are scarce and costs are sky high,” ASA President Brad Doyle said. “We appreciate EPA hearing our concerns and working to quickly restore access in many counties where science and data support doing so.”

In February 2022, Corteva submitted a label amendment to propose use of Enlist One and Enlist Duo in 128 additional counties. Corteva did not propose use in these counties during the registration renewal because Enlist products were previously thought to put the American Burying Beetle, a threatened species, at risk. However, after the renewal action was complete, Corteva proposed that EPA consider use in these counties. Based on EPA’s new effects determination, which included a robust analysis of updated species range maps from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), EPA expects that the use of these products — with the existing label requirements in place to mitigate spray drift and pesticide runoff — will not likely jeopardize the American Burying Beetle or other listed species and their critical habitats in these counties.

Regardless of whether Enlist One and Enlist Duo are applied in a county that contains listed species or not, all Enlist One and Enlist Duo applicators — in all 34 states where these products are registered for use — must follow label requirements that reduce pesticide spray drift and runoff. Additionally, it is important to note that Enlist One and Enlist Duo are still prohibited in several counties where EPA identified risks to other on-field listed species during earlier registrations, including prohibitions EPA recently implemented based on the Agency’s 2022 effects determination. 

In addition to today’s action, EPA corrected an oversight on the Enlist One and Enlist Duo product labels by removing prohibitions for two counties in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Enlist products are not registered for use in the states of Massachusetts or Rhode Island, and therefore Enlist products remain prohibited in all counties of these states.

To view the registration documents for Enlist One and Enlist Duo, go to docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2021-0957. To learn more about these products, read EPA’s Q&A.

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