Methyl bromide ban to go ahead

by Emily Buckley
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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Methyl bromide manufacturers must move ahead with the 20% cut in methyl bromide production that was to have taken effect on Jan. 1, for an aggregate cut so far of 70% from the 1991 baseline. The total ban occurs Jan. 1, 2005.

The U.S. milling industry’s effort to freeze the U.S. phaseout on methyl bromide failed, according to the North American Millers’ Association. In the end, support from the U.S. Congress was not strong enough. After a year of debate, and more than four months past due, Congressional leaders wrapped up the negotiations on the spending package without adopting the methyl bromide amendment. In the short term, a manufacturer told NAMA the production cuts would come from the methyl bromide produced for fumigating the soil in fruit and vegetable fields.

The remaining fumigant will be made available for the other uses including milling, although economics will certainly drive the price higher, NAMA said. NAMA noted that in the long term, there was a possibility manufacturers might not continue to make the fumigant for such a reduced market.