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EPA Seeks Public Comment on Draft Proposal to Improve Pest Resistance for Plant-Incorporated Protectants

For Release: September 4, 2020

EPA is accepting comments on a draft proposal to improve current insect resistance management (IRM) strategies for pests affecting Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn and cotton plant-incorporated protectants (PIPs).

Bt PIPs are pesticidal substances that have been genetically engineered into corn and cotton plants. These modified plants then produce Bt proteins that are harmful to certain insect pests. This has been accomplished by transferring specific genetic material from a bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), to the plant’s genome. The genetic material encodes these proteins that have specific toxicity to certain insect pests, but do not affect mammals or non-target organisms. Beginning in 1995, EPA has registered numerous cotton and corn PIPs that have since been widely adopted by growers in the United States and other countries.

This draft proposal provides an improved IRM framework that will help farmers prolong the durability of Bt PIPs from pests. The Agency is proposing to implement many of the recommendations from a Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel -- as well as stakeholder groups -- to create the draft proposal.

EPA is specifically interested in feedback from grower organizations, crop consultants, state and local extension agencies, state departments of agriculture and USDA.

After the comment period closes, EPA will modify the proposal as appropriate and work with registrants to finalize a new IRM framework for Bt corn and cotton PIP registrations.

The public comment period will be open for 60 days in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2019-0682 at and will close on Nov. 7, 2020. Read the FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel report for more information on this action, and visit EPA’s website to learn more about Bt PIPs and IRM strategies in general.