Rep. Ken Buck, R–Colo., member of the U.S. House of Representatives, along with 105 of his colleagues, sent a letter last week to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy regarding the ecological risk assessment for atrazine, a commonly used herbicide.
Although corn, sugar cane and sorghum growers have used atrazine for decades, the EPA’s draft risk assessment greatly restricts the use of the herbicide, effectively banning it, according to a news release from Buck’s office. The bipartisan letter demanded the EPA take into account the needs of farmers when finalizing the assessment.
“Our corn and sorghum farmers in Colorado already face a number of federal regulations that make their jobs harder,” Buck said. “I urge the EPA to rethink their approach to atrazine, using sound science and listening to the concerns of farmers instead of barreling forward with flawed research.”
Atrazine has been a staple herbicide used by farmers for more than 50 years, the release stated. Without atrazine, conservation efforts would be more difficult, and the agricultural community would have to turn to more expensive and environmentally harmful pesticides.
An economic analysis by Don Coursey, Ameritech professor of public policy at the University of Chicago, showed without atrazine, farmers could end up losing $59 per acre. Small family farmers especially would be hurt if their access to the herbicide is limited, the release stated.