The president of the Industrial Biotechnology Association (IBA)on Friday applauded Environmental Protection Agency officialsfor their "forward-looking action" in proposing reducedregulations in the small-scale field testing of microbialpesticides.

"We feel this should be viewed warmly by the newadministration," Richard Godown, IBA president, told BioWorld,because easing development of biopesticides should minimizereliance on chemical pesticides while preserving environmentalsafety.

The EPA has reviewed more than 90 proposed biopesticidessince 1982, Godown said, and based on experience, found nosafety questions at issue in about two-thirds of the cases.Under the proposed regulations, permits for small-scale fieldtests under 10 acres would only be required in one-third ofproposed biopesticides.

Godown compared the proposal to the USDA APHIS regulation,published in November, that would relax some restrictions onfield-testing of transgenic plants.

"IBA is extraordinarily pleased that EPA is publishing thisproposed regulation," Godown said. "The association has workedclosely with the Bush administration for over two years to seethis become a reality, and we're heartened that they have nowcome to pass.

"Biopesticides are playing an increasingly important role inintegrated pest management programs. The issuance of thisEPA proposal will facilitate the small-scale field testing of newbiopesticides, which is one of the initial steps in any researcheffort. We expect that this will shorten the time needed toregister biopesticides with EPA, this expanding the number ofbiological options for pest control."

Experimental use permits will still be required for field tests onmore than 10 acres.

The IBA, which recently announced plans to merge with theAssociation of Biotechnology Companies, represents 150companies that are responsible for more than 85 percent ofbiotechnology sales and revenues and research anddevelopment expenditures.

-- Nancy Garcia Associate Editor

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.

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