Agriculture: Proposed or New Rules, Policies, and Guidance

Requirements, policies, and guidance of interest to the agricultural community:

that EPA is proposing and open for public comment, or for which the comment period has closed, or that has been published as final. 

Comments are solicited from the public before EPA issues final versions. Items currently open for comment and those for which the comment period has expired are listed below.

Public comment period open

  • Pesticides; Certification of Pesticide Applicators (Comments must be received on or before November 23, 2015.) EPA is developing a final rule to revise the federal regulations governing the certified pesticide applicator program (40 CFR part 171). In August 2015, EPA proposed revisions based on years of extensive stakeholder engagement and public meetings, to ensure that they adequately protect applicators, the public, and the environment from potential harm due to exposure to restricted use pesticides (RUPs). This action is intended to improve the training and awareness of certified applicators of RUPs and to increase protection for noncertified applicators of RUPs operating under the direct supervision of a certified applicator through enhanced pesticide safety training and standards for supervision of noncertified applicators.

Public comment period closed

  • Pesticides: Risk Management Approach to Identifying Options for Protecting the Monarch Butterfly (Comment Period Closed July 24, 2015) - EPA is announcing the availability of a document for public review and comment that describes the Agency's management approach for understanding and identifying protections for the monarch butterfly. This document is the start of an approach for monarch butterfly protection and weed management which will depend upon (i) input from a diverse group of stakeholders to identify and integrate information with respect to influences on the population dynamics of the monarch butterfly and the milkweed plant; and, (ii) cooperation and collaboration from these diverse stakeholders to identify activities that will balance weed management needs across varied landscapes with conservation of the milkweed plant. EPA is soliciting public comment on which potential action or a combination of actions would be the most effective in reducing the impacts of herbicides on the monarch butterfly.
  • NPDES Electronic Reporting Rule (Supplemental NPRM: Comment Period Closed 01/30/2015) - This rule converts NPDES required paper reports to electronic reports and will save authorized state, tribe and territorial NPDES programs considerable resources, make reporting easier for NPDES regulated entities, streamline permit renewals and NPDES data exchange between states and EPA, improve environmental decision-making, and more effectively protect human health and the environment.

Final rule published 

  • Clean Water Rule: Definition of "Waters of the United States" (Final Rule published 6/29/15) - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) are publishing a final rule defining the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA or the Act), in light of the statute, science, Supreme Court decisions in U.S. v. Riverside Bayview Homes, Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (SWANCC), and Rapanos v. United States (Rapanos), and the agencies' experience and technical expertise. This final rule reflects consideration of the extensive public comments received on the proposed rule. The rule will ensure protection for the nation's public health and aquatic resources, and increase CWA program predictability and consistency by clarifying the scope of “waters of the United States” protected under the Act.

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