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Pingree Leads Bipartisan Letter to EPA Urging Congressional, USDA Input Before Defining Biostimulants

Washington, February 10, 2020

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today led four members of Congress in writing to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler, urging EPA to wait before legally defining biostimulants. Pingree and her colleagues urged Administrator Wheeler to delay final draft guidance for defining or regulating plant biostimulants until Congress and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have had time to review USDA’s recent biostimulants report and provide input.

“A critical future step will be the development of a formal, legal definition for plant biostimulants, and we believe this definition should be developed through a process led by Congress in consultation with USDA. While we appreciate EPA’s effort to provide regulatory clarity to the plant biostimulant industry, we are concerned that moving forward with the draft guidance will disrupt both Congress and USDA’s efforts.” said Pingree and her colleagues in the letter. “We hope EPA will recognize the importance of a united effort in developing the definition and will not create confusion by sending a potentially conflicting message through the draft guidance.”

Biostimulants are natural fertilizer additives that promote plant growth and boost plant yield. Examples of biostimulants include seaweed, kelp, peat, manure, and fungi. The term “plant biostimulant” has never been defined by the federal government. USDA’s biostimulants report was mandated by the 2018 Farm Bill, due in part to the confusion around the legal definition of the term “biostimulant.”

Pingree is a member of the House Agriculture Committee, where she relies on her experience as a certified organic farmer to support the diverse range of American agriculture, including sustainable, organic, and locally focused farming. 


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