Q
* I PrO^
5	-o
- —¦¦• U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL
Chemical Safety
EPA's Oversight of
State Pesticide Inspections
Needs Improvement to
Better Ensure Safeguards
for Workers, Public and
Environment Are Enforced
Report No. 15-P-0156	May 15, 2015

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Report Contributors:
Jeffrey Harris
Jee Kim
Calvin Lin
Kalpana Ramakrishnan
Denton Stafford
Steven Weber
Abbreviations
EOY	end-of-year
EPA	U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
FIFRA	Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act
FY	Fiscal Year
OECA	Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
OIG	Office of Inspector General
WPS	Worker Protection Standard
Cover photo: Pesticides being applied. (EPA photo)
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UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20460
THE INSPECTOR GENERAL
May 15, 2015
MEMORANDUM
SUBJECT: EPA's Oversight of State Pesticide Inspections Needs Improvement to Better Ensure
Safeguards for Workers, Public and Environment Are Enforced
Report No. 15-P-015*
This is our report on the subject evaluation conducted by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This report contains findings that describe problems the
OIG has identified and corrective actions the OIG recommends. This report represents the opinion of
the OIG and does not necessarily represent the final EPA position. Final determinations on matters in
this report will be made by EPA managers in accordance with established audit resolution procedures.
The EPA offices having primary responsibility for the issues evaluated in this report are the Office of
Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention's Office of Pesticide Programs and the Office of Enforcement
and Compliance Assurance's Office of Compliance.
Action Required
In accordance with EPA Manual 2750, you are required to provide a written response to this report
within 60 calendar days. You should include planned corrective actions and a completion date for the
unresolved recommendation. Your response will be posted on the OIG's public website, along with our
memorandum commenting on your response. Your response should be provided as an Adobe PDF file
that complies with the accessibility requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as
amended. The final response should not contain data that you do not want to be released to the public;
if your response contains such data, you should identify the data for redaction or removal along with
corresponding justification.
FROM: Arthur A. Elkins Jr.
TO:
Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator
Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
We will post this report to our website at http://www.epa.gov/oig.

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EPA's Oversight of State Pesticide Inspections
Needs Improvement to Better Ensure Safeguards for
Workers, Public and Environment Are Enforced
15-P-0156
Table of C
Chapters
1	Introduction		1
Purpose		1
Background		1
Scope and Methodology		4
2	Improvements to EPA Oversight of State Inspections Needed		6
Improvements in Oversight by EPA Project Officers Needed		6
Inadequate Guidance and Lack of EPA Regional Project Officer
Training Contributed to Inadequate Oversight Reviews		9
State Review Framework-Type Approaches Could Be Applied to
FIFRA Reviews		9
Conclusions		10
Recommendations		10
Agency Comments and OIG Evaluation		10
Status of Recommendations and Potential Monetary Benefits		12
Appendices
A Agency Response to Draft Report	 13
B Distribution	 16

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Chapter 1
Introduction
Purpose
We conducted this review to determine how U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) oversight ensures the quality of state-performed Federal
Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Worker Protection Standard
(WPS) and certification inspections1 regarding pesticides. We evaluated how the
agency selects inspection reports for oversight, documents its reviews, and
conducts follow-up on oversight findings.
Background
FIFRA
FIFRA provides the EPA authority to regulate the registration, sale and use of
pesticides. Under FIFRA, pesticides must be registered with the EPA in order to
be sold or distributed. The EPA will register a pesticide if the applicant shows,
among other things, that the pesticide will not generally cause unreasonable
adverse effects on human health or the environment when used in accordance
with specifications. Under the authority of FIFRA, the EPA established the WPS
in 1992 aimed at reducing the risk of pesticide poisoning and injury among
millions of agricultural workers and pesticide handlers.
State Primacy for Enforcement of Pesticide Use
Under FIFRA, states may receive primary enforcement responsibility (primacy) for
pesticide use enforcement. All the states except Wyoming have primacy. In each
primacy state, the EPA has an oversight role to ensure the adequacy of the state
pesticide use program, the achievement of federal laws, and a level playing field for
states. States with primacy conduct most compliance monitoring activities within
their jurisdictions.
Regarding pesticide use enforcement, FIFRA Section 12(a)(2)(G) states: ".. .it
shall be unlawful for any person ... to use any registered pesticide in a manner
inconsistent with its labeling...For example, if an inspector finds a person using
a pesticide outdoors that is labeled "for indoor use only," the person has used the
pesticide "in a manner inconsistent with its labeling" in violation of FIFRA.
1 The term "certification inspection" does not refer to a specific FIFRA inspection. The Office of Inspector General
(OIG) used the term because certifications are a component of most FIFRA inspections. We focused on a
representative selection of state FIFRA inspections reviewed by EPA regional project officers.
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Pesticide use violations can have detrimental effects. In the largest FIFRA criminal
penalty in history to date, the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company—a producer of
pesticides for commercial and consumer lawn and garden uses—was sentenced in
federal district court in Columbus, Ohio, to pay a $4 million fine and perform
community service for 11 criminal violations of FIFRA. Scotts pleaded guilty in
February 2012 to illegally applying insecticides to its wild bird food products that
are toxic to birds, falsifying pesticide registration documents, distributing pesticides
with misleading and unapproved labels, and distributing unregistered pesticides.
Categories of FIFRA Pesticide Inspections
There are 12 types of FIFRA pesticide inspections. We reviewed the EPA's
oversight of six of the 12 state-conducted inspections.2 EPA regional offices
perform oversight of state-conducted inspections. In addition to the WPS
inspections, certifications are also a component of most FIFRA inspections.
Below we provide a brief description of the WPS inspection and the five
non-WPS inspection categories that the OIG referred to as "certification
inspections." All of the inspections listed below include a review of
certifications associated with applicators and handlers.
WPS Inspections: The WPS is aimed
at reducing the risk of pesticide
poisoning and injury among
agricultural workers and pesticide
handlers. Routine WPS inspections are
conducted at agricultural
establishments. The inspections are
designed to ensure pesticide users
subject to WPS comply with product
label requirements. Inspectors examine
practices of employers and employees
to ensure compliance with:
•	Product-specific worker protection requirements included on
product labeling, such as need for personal protective
equipment, restricted entry intervals, and oral and posted
warnings used at the establishment.
•	Other WPS requirements, such as providing pesticide safety
information, decontamination supplies, safety training,
emergency assistance and worker notification requirements.
Use Inspections: Use inspections encompass a wide variety of
pesticide use circumstances and inspection sites. Although many
2 The six FIFRA inspections that we did not review are: Good Laboratory Program inspections, import/export
inspections, experimental-use permit inspections, restricted-use applicator inspections, establishment inspections,
and cancellation and suspension inspections.
The WPS Helps Protect Agricultural
Workers and Pesticide Handlers
According to the EPA, associations
between pesticide exposure and certain
cancer and non-cancer chronic health
effects are well documented. Reducing
these chronic health effects is an
important FIFRA goal. The WPS is
intended to prevent unreasonable
adverse effects from pesticide
exposures among agricultural workers
and pesticide handlers, as well as such
vulnerable groups as minority and low-
income populations, child farmworkers,
and farmworker families.
DANGER PBJGRO
PESTICJOtS PtSTIOOAS
KEEP OUT
NO ENTRE
A WPS-compliant warning
sign. (From EPA website)
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aspects of pesticide compliance are involved, the primary focus is on use
inconsistent with the label and the WPS.
For Cause Inspections: For cause inspections substantiate and document alleged
pesticide misuse. They are usually initiated in response to a complaint, damage
report, referral or tip following a pesticide application.
Certified Applicator License and Records Inspections: Normally conducted at a
pesticide applicator's place of business, this type of inspection determines whether:
(1) the applicator is properly certified and/or licensed, (2) the required records are
being maintained, (3) the applicator is applying pesticides only in those areas for
which certification has been issued, and (4) the records indicate that all applications
have been made in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
Restricted-Use Pesticide Dealer Inspection: These inspections are conducted to
determine compliance with FIFRA recordkeeping requirements regarding sales
and distribution of Restricted-Use Pesticides and to ensure that such pesticides are
sold only to certified applicators or non-certified persons for application by a
certified applicator who is specifically certified for use of the particular
Restricted-Use Pesticide.
Marketplace Inspections: Marketplace inspections ensure industry compliance
with product registration, formulation, packaging and labeling requirements; and
that products are correctly distributed through trade channels.
EPA Review of State FIFRA Inspection/Enforcement Files
The EPA partners with states to regulate pesticides and funds cooperative
agreements and grants that help states implement pesticide programs. According
to the agency's FIFRA Project Officer Manual, the EPA regions conduct annual
end-of-year (EOY) evaluations to assess state performance in running their
pesticide programs. Five major factors for why the evaluations are necessary are
because they:
•	Ensure that state pesticide programs are being implemented consistent
with the intent of federal, state or tribal law.
•	Identify strengths of state programs, recognizing the goals, achievements
and contributions made to the pesticide program.
•	Identify any weaknesses of or obstacles to state programs.
•	Identify performance problem obstacles to completing negotiated tasks.
•	Make recommendations for improvements or resolution of any
deficiencies or problem areas.
During the EOY evaluation, EPA regional project officers review all aspects of
the state's pesticide program. The oversight evaluation includes an in-depth look
at the state's activities, such as inspection reports and enforcement actions.
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Regional reviews determine whether the state is taking appropriate enforcement
action where warranted and achieving compliance from the regulated community.
For example, if the state is conducting inspections under the cooperative
agreement, the project officer should review a selected number of the state's
inspection files to determine whether the state is conducting inspections properly,
appropriate inspection procedures are followed, and sufficient evidence is
collected.
For WPS inspection reviews, regional focus is on the following compliance areas:
•	Notification and posting of pesticide application.
•	Application and entry restrictions.
•	Personal protective equipment and pesticide handling equipment.
•	Pesticide safety training.
•	Pesticide safety information.
•	Decontamination supplies.
•	Emergency assistance.
•	Retaliation.
For non-WPS inspection reviews, the regional focus relates to the specific type of
inspection. For example, the regional review of marketplace inspections focuses
on assurances that industry complied with product registration, formulation,
packaging and labeling requirements; and that products are correctly distributed.
The regional review of Certified Applicator License and Records Inspections
focuses on determining whether the applicator is properly certified and is
applying pesticides in accordance with certification, maintaining records, and
making all applications in compliance with all applicable laws.
Responsible Offices
The EPA offices having primary responsibility for the issues evaluated in this
report are the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention's Office of
Pesticide Programs and Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance's
(OECA's) Office of Compliance.
Scope and Methodology
We conducted this performance audit in accordance with generally accepted
government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform
the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis
for our findings and conclusions based on our objectives. We believe that the
evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our results based upon our
objectives. We conducted this audit from December 2013 to February 2015.
We reviewed relevant materials, including laws, regulations, procedures and
guidance. Our review included the following documents: Office of Pesticide
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Program/OECA 2015-2017 FIFRA Cooperative Agreement Guidance, 2002
FIFRA Project Officer Manual, 2013 FIFRA Inspection Manual, 2013 and 2014
Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention National Program Manager
Guidance, and the 2012 WPS Agricultural Inspection Guidance.
We selected four EPA regional offices (Regions 1, 4, 7 and 8) as the focus of our
evaluation. We selected individual case files to review at the state offices from
regional lists of case file reviews they conducted in fiscal years (FYs) 2012 and
2013. We judgmentally chose for review one or two states within each of the four
selected EPA regions based on the number and type of cases reviewed, issues
found during project officer review, and location. The states selected were
Massachusetts in Region 1, Georgia and North Carolina in Region 4, Missouri in
Region 7, and Colorado and North Dakota in Region 8. Table 1 summarizes the
different types of FIFRA inspection case files we reviewed at the different regions
and states.
Table 1: Summary of case file reviews

Type of inspection reviewed
Region
State
WPS
Use
Market-
place
For
Cause
Certified
Applicator
Restricted-
Use
Total
1
MA
5


2
3

10
4
GA
5
1
2

1
1
10
NC

2
1



3
7
MO
6
2

2

2
12
8
CO
7



1
3
11
ND
6

1


2
9
TOTAL
29
5
4
4
5
8
55
Source: OIG analysis.
We interviewed Office of Pesticide Programs and OECA headquarters managers,
and EPA regional pesticide and enforcement managers. We also interviewed
regional project officers to better understand the case file review process. We
compared regional project officer notes with the content of the inspection reports.
We collected and reviewed FY 2012 and 2013 EOY reports for the six states that
were part of our evaluation. We also interviewed state staff from state
departments of agriculture to gather information on working relationships with
EPA regions and their role in the inspection report review process.
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Chapter 2
Improvements to EPA Oversight of
State Inspections Needed
The EPA regions we reviewed did not consistently document or retain evidence of
the quality of state-performed FIFRA WPS and certification inspections. It was
difficult to analyze EPA project officer oversight reviews for adequacy because of
an overall lack of records and transparency in how issues associated with state
inspections are addressed. In the sample we reviewed, we found the following:
•	EPA reviewers did not consistently report, document or retain records of
issues found during their review.
•	None of the EPA regional review notes provided specific documentation
on how the states' enforcement actions were consistent with state
enforcement policies and procedures.
•	EPA regions often relied on the state agency to select inspection reports
for review, which may introduce bias.
•	Three of the four EPA regions did not provide or document formal
feedback on issues found during reviews so that states could improve their
inspections. Region 4 provided feedback to North Carolina but not
Georgia.
Regional oversight of FIFRA inspections are intended to protect humans and the
environment from adverse pesticide use. However, EPA oversight weaknesses
occurred because of inadequate guidance and training. Improvements are needed
to increase assurance that pesticides are not misused and do not pose unnecessary
risks to human health and the environment.
Improvements in Oversight by EPA Project Officers Needed
EPA Project Officers Did Not Consistently Report, Document or
Retain Records of Issues Identified During Reviews
In most instances, the information contained in regional inspection report review
notes and the information reported in the respective EOY reports differed. The
FIFRA Project Officer Manual states that the EOY reports will detail a
"discussion of problems and proposed resolutions, including specific
recommendations for each problem identified." For example, the Region 4
FY 2013 EOY for Georgia said, "The reviewer did not find any cases that did not
meet the minimum standards set by the EPA." However, the regional review notes
for this period stated that"... some photos were fuzzy..." and noted "... potential
violation in worker interview...." The Region 7 FY 2012 EOY for Missouri said
"Inspection files were complete and detailed...," but the regional project officer's
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notes for that period said "Appears to have incorrect date on inspection
narrative..." and "... date of inspection and inspection number are different...."
The agency stated that most of the issues the OIG found in the review notes of the
project officers are addressed through "informal" channels (email, phone calls,
etc.) and are not documented in the EOY reports. However, without
documentation on how issues detailed in the project officer review notes are
addressed, the resolution of issues is unverifiable.
Only one state EOY report in our sample described quality or compliance issues
found during the project officer's file review. The Region 4 Georgia FY 2012 EOY
report contained information such as ".. .the EPA found that some inspection
narratives required more clarity" and "legible photographs from pesticide labels
continue to be an area warranting improvement." The remainder of the EOY
reports generally described the files reviewed as complete but did not describe
issues found during project officer review. For example, the Region 1
Massachusetts FY 2013 EOY stated that"... enforcement documentation and
inspection records were complete..but the project officer's notes regarding a
particular file stated "Target pest not listed on use observation form." When
regional project officers do not include the issues found during their reviews in the
EOY reports or explain in reports why the issues are not relevant, it raises questions
as to whether the EPA is holding the states accountable.
We also found some regional documentation of file reviews to be minimal or
absent. An OECA manager said that in addition to documenting which and how
many case files were reviewed, project officers are to note any concerns they
observe. The FIFRA Project Officer Manual provides worksheets for project
officers to record and summarize comments on each case file reviewed. In several
instances, the EPA project officer did not document any notes on any form. For
example, North Carolina WPS inspection reports reviewed during FYs 2012 and
2013 did not have any notes because the project officer reviewed the electronic
inspection reports on a state-designated computer. The project officer recorded
the number of inspection reports reviewed but did not take notes or identify
specific reports reviewed. Additionally, the North Dakota EPA project officer said
he did not document notes for inspection reports reviewed during FYs 2012 and
2013 because North Dakota sent him case files electronically so he did not see the
need to keep notes of his review. The absence of recorded review notes and
comments impedes oversight of project officer reviews, and institutional
knowledge cannot be passed on when project officers retire or leave the agency.
Some EPA regional project officers said there is little guidance on how long to
retain records of file reviews. One regional project officer disposed of review
notes for FYs 2001 through 2012 as part of an agencywide records management
effort. The regional project officer was unable to identify which inspection reports
were reviewed during those years. This action was a violation of the agency's
record retention policy. According to OECA headquarters managers, per EPA
Record Schedule 1003, grant and other agreement oversight records are to be
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retained for 10 years after agreement closeout. These records of project officer
file reviews are important to support and monitor any determination of a state's
ongoing adequacy to maintain primacy and/or requests to improve any issues
found. When regional project officers do not adequately report, document and
retain the records of their case file reviews, there is no assurance that the EPA's
oversight of state pesticide inspections is helping to prevent unreasonable risks to
human health and the environment.
Project Officers Did Not Provide Evidence That State Enforcement
Actions Were Consistent With State Policies
While some regions reported in EOY reports that state enforcement actions taken
were in accordance with state enforcement response policies, none of the regional
review notes provided evidence of how the states' enforcement actions were
consistent with state enforcement policies and procedures that implement FIFRA.
Some of the regional review notes in our sample included generic statements
indicating that enforcement action was appropriate. There was no documentary
evidence that the regional project officers validated whether the enforcement action
taken by the state was in accordance with the state's enforcement response policy.
According to the FIFRA Project Officer Manual, "the project officer should ensure
that the state's or tribe's enforcement actions are consistent with its enforcement
policies and procedures, and that inspections and enforcement actions are
consistent with the recipient's policies and procedures approved by EPA." That
manual, however, does not specifically state the region should also provide
documentation that the enforcement action was in accordance with the state's
policies.
An OECA Associate Director said one of the most important reasons for a project
officer to review inspection reports and case files is to ensure that the state is able
to take appropriate enforcement actions to maintain primacy. An OECA chief
stated that consistency with the enforcement response policies is "self-evident."
However, what is "self-evident" depends on the skills, knowledge and experience
of individuals. Providing documentation to support that a state acted in
accordance with its own enforcement response policies is a more robust control.
Project Officers Allowed States to Select Files for Review
EPA regional project officers often requested the state departments of agriculture
to select inspection reports to be reviewed on their behalf. The FIFRA Project
Officer Manual language is vague on the selection process, noting "inspection
reports should be selected and reviewed in accordance with national and regional
guidance and must include files from each category of inspection activity." EPA
regional project officers interviewed said they generally request the state agency
to select inspection reports randomly for review. One regional project officer said
this was done in the interest of time. Two regional project officers said they may
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request the state to pull inspection reports that profile "significant cases" of
human health and environmental violations. However, in most instances, the state
departments of agriculture select the inspection reports for review. There is a
potential for bias in inspection report selection if the state agency is allowed to
select inspection reports for the EPA's review.
Project Officers Did Not Document Closeout Meetings
EPA regional project officers did not document communication with state agencies
about discrepancies or problems regarding inspection reports or methods to
improve the reports. According to the FIFRA Project Officer Manual, "a closing
discussion among review participants should be held upon completion of the
evaluation. The project officer should discuss findings and recommendations,
including any unresolved problems identified in prior evaluations."
Most state agencies said the EPA regional project officer will ask questions or
make comments during the review process. These feedback sessions are not
documented, nor is documentation suggested in the FIFRA Project Officer
Manual. Many regional project officers said their findings are conveyed in the
EOY report. As noted earlier, all but one EOY report in our sample commented
on issues found during their review. Only one regional project officer sent an
email with findings during the review separate from the EOY. While not required
by the FIFRA manual, it is good business practice for regions to document
feedback and the topics discussed, to prevent conflicting explanations of issues
associated with inspections and to ensure information is retained and available.
Inadequate Guidance and Lack of EPA Regional Project Officer
Training Contributed to Inadequate Oversight Reviews
In addition to the inadequate guidance, as discussed in the prior sections, we
found that EPA regional project officers had not been trained on their oversight
duties in over 10 years. Training will help regional project officers ensure quality
of state FIFRA inspections. According to the agency, FIFRA project officer
training was offered in March 2015, and a plan for future training was in
development.
State Review Framework-Type Approaches Could Be Applied to
FIFRA Reviews
In 2005, the EPA implemented the State Review Framework, designed to bring a
systematic and consistent approach to regional enforcement oversight of state
programs for air, water and waste. The framework established standard protocols
and procedures for conducting state oversight reviews—including an established
methodology for selecting files for review and having consistent file review
discussion guides—and required a consistent level of management involvement.
The State Review Framework also focuses on communication with a state
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throughout the process, starting with an opening letter to the state from senior
EPA management through entrance and exit conferences, and concluding with
draft and final report processes. The EPA's FIFRA state oversight review process
currently lacks consistency in how state oversight reviews are planned, performed
and documented. To ensure national consistency in EPA oversight practices and
that states are conducting inspections appropriately, the EPA should establish a
more systematic approach to FIFRA reviews similar to the State Review
Framework.
Conclusions
The EPA needs procedures and training that provide specific direction to EPA
oversight staff on selecting inspections, reporting and documenting review
findings, and communicating review findings to state partners. These actions
should result in consistent and more effective regional oversight of state
performance, which will lead to increased assurance that the EPA's oversight
process will detect pesticide misuse and unnecessary risks to human health and
the environment.
Recommendations
We recommend that the Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance
Assurance:
1.	In conjunction with the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution
Prevention, revise the FIFRA Project Officer Manual to include specific
guidance for:
a.	Reporting, documenting and retaining records from project officer
inspection reviews.
b.	Providing documentation on how a state's enforcement actions are
consistent with the state's enforcement policies and procedures.
c.	Selecting inspection files for review.
d.	Documenting closeout meetings with states.
We recommend that the Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and
Pollution Prevention and the Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and
Compliance Assurance:
2.	Ensure that required FIFRA project officer training is conducted
periodically and the above guidance is included in the training.
Agency Comments and OIG Evaluation
The agency commented on our findings and conclusions and, where appropriate,
we made changes in our report. The agency agreed with our recommendations.
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Regarding Recommendation 1, the agency provided a corrective action plan and
estimated completion date, and that recommendation is considered resolved and
open with corrective action pending. Regarding Recommendation 2, while we
acknowledge that the agency conducted project officer training in March 2015,
during which the OIG findings were discussed, the agency is still developing
plans for future trainings and will provide the plan as its corrective action.
Therefore, Recommendation 2 is considered unresolved pending the providing of
further corrective action plans and an estimated timeframe for completion. The
agency's full response, and our embedded comments, are in Appendix A.
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Status of Recommendations and
Potential Monetary Benefits
RECOMMENDATIONS
Rec.
No.
No.
Subject
Status1
Action Official
10 In conjunction with the Office of Chemical Safety
and Pollution Prevention, revise the FIFRA Project
Officer Manual to include specific guidance for:
a. Reporting, documenting and retaining
records from project officer inspection
Assistant Administrator for
Enforcement and
Compliance Assurance
Planned
Completion
Date
6/30/17
POTENTIAL MONETARY
BENEFITS (in $000s)
Claimed
Amount
Ag reed-To
Amount
b.	Providing documentation on how a state's
enforcement actions are consistent with the
state's enforcement policies and procedures.
c.	Selecting inspection files for review.
d.	Documenting closeout meetings with states.
10 Ensure that required FIFRA project officer training
is conducted periodically and the above guidance
is included in the training.
Assistant Administrator for
Chemical Safety and
Pollution Prevention
and
Assistant Administrator for
Enforcement and
Compliance Assurance
0 = Recommendation is open with agreed-to corrective actions pending.
C = Recommendation is closed with all agreed-to actions completed.
U = Recommendation is unresolved with resolution efforts in progress
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Appendix A
Agency Response to Draft Report
March 23, 2015
MEMORANDUM
SUBJECT: EPA Comments on Draft Report: "EPA's Oversight of State Pesticide Inspections
Needs Improvement to Ensure that Safeguards for Workers, the Public, and the
Environment are Enforced," Project No. OPE-FY14-0007
FROM: Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator
Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
TO:	Arthur A. Elkins Jr, Inspector General
Office of Inspector General
We appreciate the opportunity to provide you with comments on the draft report (OPE-FY14-
0007). EPA agrees that the Office of Inspector General (OIG) evaluation of EPA's oversight of
state implementation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)
identified opportunities for improvements to EPA's oversight practices in the FIFRA program.
We are committed to strengthening FIFRA by addressing the recommendations in this report in a
timely manner.
While we agree that oversight can be strengthened, EPA does not believe that the examples cited
in the OIG report demonstrate the existence of national problems or a lack of state
accountability. We acknowledge that consistency across EPA regions and project officers can be
improved, but EPA does not agree those individual shortcomings are a basis to "question
whether EPA is holding states accountable." Regional oversight, similar to state performance,
benefits from a base level of standard procedures and training with flexibility to utilize unique
approaches that account for regional and state differences. Last, statements on page six and the
Conclusion on page 10 stating "improvements are needed to increase assurance that pesticides
are not misused and do not pose necessary risks to human health and the environment" and
"Continued weakness in the EPA's regional oversight process may result in failure to detect
pesticide misuse and unnecessary risks to human health and the environment" are not supported
by the scope or findings of this OIG assessment. We respectfully request the OIG remove these
statements from its report.
OI(; Response. The OIG edited, hul did not iemo\e. these statements.
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EPA has taken several steps in the past few years to strengthen our guidance, training and
oversight in the FIFRA program. An effort jointly conducted by Office of Enforcement and
Compliance Assurance (OECA) and Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
(OCSPP) concluded its own two-year assessment of oversight policies and procedures of the
FIFRA program that will result in improvements that will address virtually all of the issues
raised in this draft report. One of the major efforts resulting from EPA's assessment is a revised
Project Officer training program that does take into account the importance of documenting
findings and corrective actions that come out of regional reviews. Other actions EPA has taken
include revising the Cooperative Agreement Guidance, developing new measures and a new
Compliance Monitoring Strategy for the FIFRA program, FIFRA e-learning courses for
inspectors, and the design of a FIFRA program performance dashboard to publicly display
information reported by states on the 5700 form. These steps will strengthen FIFRA program
management and oversight.
EPA does have a few specific comments on the draft report. On page two of the OIG draft report,
five non-WPS inspection categories are referred to as "certification inspections." EPA would like
to clarify that our program does not use the term "certification inspections" to characterize a
FIFRA inspection type. We do not believe the OIG needs to group and rename the FIFRA
inspection types, and instead we request that you simply refer to the common inspection types.
OIG Response: The OIG included a footnote to clarify our use of the term "certification
inspections."
Page nine mentions that project officers do not document closeout meetings following reviews.
This is a practice that has been affected by the decline in resources available to the regions for
the FIFRA program. Historically the regions have spent up to a week on file reviews. As
resources have declined, this process has been streamlined to several hours, often involving the
electronic submission of files to conserve state and EPA resources while still addressing EPA
requirements and priorities. In conjunction with the new Project Officer Training and a future
revised Project Officer Manual, EPA agrees we can highlight best practices in documenting
communications with state agencies about discrepancies, problems, or improvements.
The OIG draft report explains EPA's State Review Framework (SRF), designed to bring a
systematic and consistent approach to regional enforcement oversight of state programs for air,
water and waste. The OIG suggests establishing a more systematic approach to FIFRA reviews
similar to the SRF. EPA wants to emphasize that the resources allocated to the FIFRA program
are significantly smaller than those compared to the CAA, CWA, and RCRA programs covered
by the SRF process. The FIFRA program also has limitations in its ability to oversee FIFRA in
the same manner as is done in CWA, CAA or RCRA due to state primary enforcement
responsibility for pesticide use violations (primacy) in the FIFRA program and the lack of
facility-specific reporting of state activities to EPA. The SRF process starts with media-specific
data metrics that would be difficult to establish from the summary data provided to EPA for the
FIFRA program areas. EPA, through its actions over the past few years, has taken a modified
approach to FIFRA compliance and enforcement oversight due to these differences and
limitations. These modifications will improve oversight and state accountability, and build a
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foundation on which states and EPA together can consider new ways to make program
implementation and management more efficient.
OIG Response: The OIG changed the title of the section to "State Review Framework-Type
Approaches Could Be Applied to FIFRA Reviews," to more clearly reflect the OIG's intent to
highlight approaches used in the State Review Framework.
The findings in this draft OIG report reinforces our work to improve Project Officer guidance
and training. EPA agrees with the recommendations. EPA has recently provided and will
continue to periodically provide training to regional project officers as well as our grantees. We
also agree to update the Project Officer Manual so it is consistent with the new training and the
FIFRA Cooperative Agreement Guidance.
Planned corrective action completion dates are:
1. Recommendation 1 - Revise the FIFRA Project Officer Manual by June 30, 2017.
OIG Response: Recommendation 1 and its inclusion of the findings of this report have been
confirmed by the agency. This recommendation is resolved and open with corrective action
pending.
2. Recommendation 2 - Conducted FIFRA Project Officer training on March 3-4, 2015.
Conduct an additional training session by March 24, 2015.
OIG Response: The OIG received information from the agency detailing plans in development
for future training sessions. This recommendation is therefore considered unresolved until the
agency provides further corrective action plans and an estimated timeframe for completion.
If you have any questions concerning this response, please feel free to contact Gwendolyn
Spriggs, the OECA Audit Liaison, at 202-564-2439.
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Appendix B
Distribution
Office of the Administrator
Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
Agency Follow-Up Official (the CFO)
Agency Follow-Up Coordinator
General Counsel
Associate Administrator for Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations
Associate Administrator for Public Affairs
Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
Director, Office of Compliance, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
Director, Office of Pesticide Programs, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
Audit Follow-Up Coordinator, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
Audit Follow-Up Coordinator, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
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