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Regulatory Watch: EPA fires back at activist group

Agency says comparison of its approach to pesticide tolerance reassessment as “Enron-like accounting” is unfair.

EPA has taken the unusual step of publicly rebuking an environmental activist group for its criticism of the agency. EPA said the Natural Resources Defense Council “disseminated misinformation rather than facts” after EPA announced the reassessment of more than 6,400 allowable pesticide residues on food to ensure that they satisfy the tougher food safety standard contained in the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996.

The environmental group charged EPA falsely claimed to have met the statutory deadline for pesticide tolerance reassessment. EPA responded to the charge, saying it met the Congressionally mandated deadlines in the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 to reassess two-thirds of the existing pesticide tolerances on food to ensure they meet the tougher health standards required by law.

This was accomplished through a multi-year process that included numerous rounds of scientific and public review. The agency took particular exception to NRDC’s characterization of EPA’s approach to tolerance reassessment as involving “Enron like accounting.”

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