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GCSAA UPDATE: Deadline approaching on methyl bromide use on golf courses

October 15, 2013
by Jim Kerns

Government relations update:

Deadline approaching on methyl bromide use on golf courses

The U.S. EPA will soon determine whether golf course use of methyl bromide will remain on the product label. A current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the EPA and methyl bromide registrants allows golf courses to purchase methyl bromide existing stocks until April 30, 2014. Whatever is purchased by that date, can be used until the product is exhausted.

Remaining on the methyl bromide label would allow golf courses the ability to continue to purchase from existing stockpiles of methyl bromide (produced prior to 2005) for an undetermined time period after April 30, 2014.

GCSAA and its members have asked the agency to push back the deadline on the MOU in order to allow scientists more time to research technically and economically feasible alternatives, especially for bermudagrass to bermudagrass conversions in the Southeast where the majority of methyl bromide applications take place. The extension is needed because iodomethane, a methyl bromide alternative, is no longer available. Last spring the manufacturer of iodomethane removed the chemical from the U.S. market.

Soil fumigation with methyl bromide has been a reliable tool for golf course resurfacing, particularly for converting older bermudagrass stands to the newer, improved varieties of bermudagrass. Presently, methyl bromide is the only fumigant currently available that can be used in the “no-till” resurfacing method for replacing turfgrasses. This method allows for replanting the surface of existing greens and tees without removing and reconstructing the soil profile. The “no-till” method using methyl bromide costs significantly less and takes less time when compared to reconstruction.

The EPA is expected to make a decision on the MOU extension within the next 30 days. Golf course superintendents considering a resurfacing project should consider the potential for an April 30, 2014, deadline for purchasing methyl bromide existing stocks. It is possible methyl bromide will not be available for purchase after this date.

Chava McKeel, GCSAA associate director of government relations, will talk more about the future use of methyl bromide on golf courses during GCSAA’s free Government Relations Quarterly Briefing on Wednesday, Oct. 16, starting at noon (Central). Register for the 30-minute briefing today.

Questions?

Contact Chava McKeel at 800-472-7878.

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