By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on August 4, 2023, that it is providing resources to help biotechnology developers exercise the full benefits of the exemptions available under the Plant Incorporated Protectants (PIP) exemption rule. These resources are available on EPA’s public website and include the following:
- Fact sheet and background information on PIPs rule;
- Examples of genetic modifications that are exempt under the rule;
- Description of how to submit a self-determination or a request for EPA confirmation of exemption under the rule; and
- Sample documents for submitting a self-determination or request for confirmation.
The PIPs Exemption Final Rule went into effect on July 31, 2023. More information on the final rule is available in our June 2, 2023, memorandum.
On May 31, 2023, EPA released a final rule exempting two categories of PIPs created using genetic engineering from certain registration requirements under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and from the food or feed residue tolerance requirements under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). 88 Fed. Reg. 34756. EPA states that the rule ensures that human health and the environment are protected while reducing costs for the regulated community, consistent with the September 2022 Executive Order 14081 on Advancing Biotechnology. According to EPA, the rule may also result in increased research and development activities, commercialization of new pest control options for farmers, and reduced use of conventional pesticides.
EPA notes that the final rule reflects the biotechnological advances made since 2001, when it first exempted PIPs derived through conventional breeding from FIFRA registration and FFDCA tolerance requirements, but did not at that time exempt PIPs created through biotechnology. Specifically, the final rule exempts PIPs derived through genetic engineering from FIFRA registration and FFDCA tolerance requirements in cases where the PIPs are essentially equivalent to those exempted by the 2001 rule.
The rule contains conditions for exempting:
- PIPs in which genetic engineering has been used to insert a gene from a sexually compatible plant or to modify a gene to match a gene found in a sexually compatible plant. This category of PIPs requires EPA confirmation of eligibility for the exemption; and
- Loss-of-function (LoF) PIPs, in which a gene is modified through genetic engineering to reduce or eliminate the activity of that gene. The loss of the activity of that gene then results in the pesticidal effect. EPA states that for this category of PIP, “biotechnology developers can make a self-determination that their PIP meets the exemption criteria, which requires notification but no EPA review, or request EPA confirmation of eligibility for the exemption.”
EPA notes that it indicated in the preamble to the final rule that it would consider exempting additional categories of PIPs from both FIFRA registration and FFDCA tolerance requirements and expanding the categories of PIPs that are allowed the option to self-determine and do not require EPA confirmation of eligibility for the exemption.