EPA taking public comments on planned phase-out of Bt corn, cotton traits

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EPA taking public comments on planned phase-out of Bt corn, cotton traits

The Environmental Protection Agency is taking comments on a plan that would phase out many of the existing Bt corn and cotton plant protection traits.

The agency wants to implement many recommendations from a scientific advisory panel that are designed to delay insect resistance to the plant protection traits and prolong the effectiveness of plant protection products.

The EPA says Bt resistance has been reported for corn earworm, fall armyworm, western bean cutworm, and the southwestern corn borer.  The agency reports insect resistance risk factors including a lack of high-dose toxin in pests, cross-pollination with non-Bt plants, and ineffective resistance monitoring methods.

Graham Head with Bayer’s resistance management team issued a statement saying, “We are currently reviewing the EPA’s recently released proposed IRM framework and are working through the Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee (ABSTC) to respond as an industry.”  He says, “Bayer remains committed to stewarding its technologies while providing growers and producers choice and access to technologies that enable them to effectively manage pests such as cotton bollworm and corn earworm. We look forward to working alongside industry registrants of Bt technologies as well as researchers, government regulators, and industry associations to provide practical approaches for IRM.   The EPA stresses that this is a draft proposal and they are still seeking feedback per the public comment period. Specifically, EPA says it will “modify the proposal as appropriate and work with registrants to finalize a new IRM framework for Bt corn and cotton PIP registrations.”

Syngenta issued a statement saying, “Syngenta is continuing to work with industry groups such as the ABSTC to provide feedback on the EPA’s proposed Lepidopteran IRM framework. We remain committed to working with the EPA on practical approaches for IRM while preserving grower choice and will use the timeframe provided before making any decisions on next steps.”

The EPA is taking comments on the proposed phase-out until November 9th.

DTN reports numerous product lines would be phased out in three to five years, including some Hurculex, Optimum, QROME, PowerCore, SmartStax Enlist, and Widestrike lines from Corteva Agrisciences, some Agrisure and Attribute lines from Syngenta, and some Yieldgard and Genuity products from Bayer.