The Senate passed a bill to reauthorize a law which establishes a more streamlined and predictable pesticide registration program at EPA. The Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA) was first negotiated among the agency, registrants and environmentalists in 2003. The statute was reauthorized in 2007 and is set to expire on Sept. 30 if another reauthorization is not passed by Congress.

PRIA allows EPA to collect fees from registrants and, in return, agrees to abide by predetermined time lines. Specifically, regulatory actions are categorized first by type of chemical (conventional, antimicrobial or biopesticide chemical product) and next by the type of action (e.g., new active ingredient for nonfood or food use, new registration of an old product, etc.). Under this system, each individual category corresponds to a certain registration service fee and decision review timeline.

The Senate approved a bill introduced by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member Roberts (R-Kan.). The House already had approved an identical version of the bill.

The latest bill offers new decision-making time frames for labels, new chemical categories and a new electronic tracking program. It also enhances species impacts data collection to help the agency better comply with the Endangered Species Act.

President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law before the Sept. 30 expiration date.