Despite both EPA and industry support, Congress failed to include a renewal of the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (“PRIA”) in the budget adopted for EPA for the remainder of fiscal year 2019, ending September 30, 2019. PRIA is a fee for service program, under which applicants for pesticide registrations or amendments pay a specified fee for the type of action and in return are given a firm date by which the action can be expected to be completed. Originally enacted in 2004, this enactment would have been the fourth iteration of the program. The program added certainty to process that previously had been chaotic.
In its absence, EPA has advised industry participants that as of February 16, 2019, fees will be reduced by 70%, but no deadlines will apply to actions in question. All applications submitted prior to February 16 will still be subject to the PRIA decision times.
The Senate has passed a stand-alone re-enactment of PRIA, but is future remains uncertain. Until the picture becomes clearer, it might be the wiser course to refrain at the moment from filing any applications. If PRIA is re-enacted, it may retroactively cover filings during the lapse of the Act, but that is by no means a certainty.