WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency has informed the North American Millers’ Association that the association’s 2014 methyl bromide Critical Use Exemption will be the last one granted.
The decision to end the exemption “was made at the highest levels within the Obama administration,” NAMA said.
Methyl bromide is used by millers to keep grain mills clean, sanitary and free from insects, and was to be banned with no exceptions on Jan. 1, 2001. However, in 1998 NAMA successfully lobbied Congress to amend the law and set a new phase-out date of Jan. 1, 2005, and with opportunities to apply for exemptions.
According to NAMA, by 2013 flour mills will have cut more than 95% of their methyl bromide usage from historical levels. They use it less frequently and in quantities only about one-half of the E.P.A.-approved rate. Where possible, mills have switched to sulfuryl fluoride and high heat along with a variety of integrated pest management approaches.
NAMA is now in the ninth year of receiving such exemptions.