Secretary Powell's Letter to EPA Administrator Leavitt
I am writing to seek your assistance in preparing a certification required by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2004 (H.R.2673). The certification must be submitted to Congress before the Department of State can obligate a portion of its FY 2004 funds for aerial eradication programs in Colombia.
Specifically, the Act states that the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), must certify to the Committees on Appropriations that: "(1) the herbicide mixture is being used in accordance with EPA label requirements for comparable use in the United States and any additional controls recommended by the EPA for this program, and with the Colombian Environmental Management Plan for aerial fumigation; and (2) the herbicide mixture, in the manner it is being used, does not pose unreasonable risks or adverse effects to humans or the environment." I have enclosed the relevant excerpt from the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2004.
The Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) consults regularly with EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs to seek guidance on issues related to the chemicals applied in the U.S.-supported aerial eradication program in Colombia. INL has provided Office of Pesticide Programs personnel with comprehensive information about the methods used to apply these chemicals in Colombia to eradicate coca and opium poppy. I have enclosed further information on human health and environmental monitoring related to the U.S.-supported coca eradication program in Colombia to supplement information provided to EPA in 2002 and 2003 during similar consultations.
Accordingly, I ask that you provide the Department of State with a written response to confirm that the Department of State and the EPA have consulted concerning the U.S.-supported aerial coca eradication program in Colombia. I also ask that you confirm that the herbicide mixture employed by the U.S.-supported program of aerial eradication of coca and opium poppy in Colombia is being used in accordance with EPA label requirements for comparable use in the United States and any additional controls recommended by the EPA for this program; as well as with the Colombian Environmental Management Plan for aerial fumigation. Finally, I ask that you confirm that this herbicide mixture, in the manner it is being used, does not pose unreasonable risks to or have adverse effects upon humans or the environment. I plan to submit your response as part of the certification that the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2004 requires me to submit to Congress, and would appreciate your response on or before November 1, 2004.
INL Assistant Secretary Robert Charles and his staff stand ready to provide any further briefings you or other concerned EPA personnel may need. Thank you for your assistance with this vital program to reduce the supply of dangerous drugs into the United States.
Colin L. Powell