FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Sue Schulte
Date: 1/21/10 Phone: 785-448-6922
AGRICULTURE GROUPS DEFEND ATRAZINE AGAINST AGENDA-DRIVEN ATTACKS
53 groups representing tens of thousands of farmers in nearly every state and commodity call for decisions based on science, not politics
Washington, D.C. – A broad coalition of agriculture groups have written to Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, in defense of the herbicide atrazine, which has become the target of a coordinated attack by environmental groups seeking to eliminate its use. See copy of the letter to the EPA here. Atrazine, a critical tool in growing crops as diverse as corn, sorghum, sugar cane, and citrus, has been used safely in over 60 countries for 50 years.
The EPA will begin a re-re-evaluation of atrazine as part of a series of Scientific Advisory Panels, which will begin on February 2nd. Recent media events by agenda-driven organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, Land Stewardship Project and Pesticide Action Network North America suggest a coordinated campaign to call atrazine’s safety into question and politicize what should be a scientific process. In fact, in an unprecedented move, the EPA itself identified NRDC material as part of its justification to launch the new review.
“We want to set the record straight on the agriculture community’s broad support of this very effective herbicide that has been used by farmers for more than 50 years,” said Jere White, executive director of the Kansas corn and grain sorghum growers associations. “Atrazine is used on more than one-half of all U.S. corn and two-thirds of sorghum. It is one of the primary elements that make American agriculture so phenomenally productive. Every EPA Administration since the EPA was founded – Republican and Democrat – has endorsed atrazine’s safety and that is why we join together to pledge our support and confidence in this product.”
“Atrazine is the foundation for weed control programs in Florida sugarcane and has withstood thorough scientific testing in the U.S. and around the world,” said James M. Shine, Jr., Agriculture Division Vice President for Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida. “Extensive research conducted by scientists inside and outside the government have weighed all the data and concluded that it is safe for the environment, human health, and crop protection. Our communities should feel confident that rigorous science has determined its safety.” It is estimated that atrazine is used in 90 percent of U.S. sugar cane production.
"The use of atrazine and the triazine family herbicides in citrus production have dramatically reduced the need for cultivation and water applications, provided protection against freeze damage, and created a better quality product," said Joel Nelsen, President of California Citrus Mutual. "Their loss would have a devastating impact on our growers."
The coalition of agriculture groups will be actively involved in the EPA re-evaluation of atrazine and will insist that transparent, peer-reviewed science utilizing accepted practices govern regulatory decision-making.
For more information on this coalition or on atrazine, please contact Sue Schulte at firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-448-6922.