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Public comment for EPA’s herbicide strategy is ending

The lone remaining red-cockaded woodpecker population is in the McCurtain County Wilderness Area and Ouchita National Forest.
Mark Ramirez
/
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The lone remaining red-cockaded woodpecker population is in the McCurtain County Wilderness Area and Ouchita National Forest.

Oklahoma producers have until Sunday to submit comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Draft Herbicide Strategy.

The plan is to reduce agricultural herbicide exposure from 900 species like the red-cockaded woodpecker and designated critical habitats in 48 states, including Oklahoma. The proposed strategy is part of the EPA’s renewed policy to meet its responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act.

The move comes after lawsuits from environmental groups claimed the agency violated the Endangered Species Act. In a news release, EPA officials said the agency is taking a broad approach because its traditional method of focusing on specific chemicals and species is slow and costly.

Mitigation requirements such as limiting spray drift and preventing runoff and erosion are required practices in the draft. Some farmers have concerns about the proposed strategy’s impact, including the Oklahoma Farm Bureau. Officials at the organization said some producers could have greater unworkable restrictions.

Attorneys with the National Agricultural Law Center say producers can expect to see new restrictions on pesticide labels as the policy rolls out.

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

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