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State modifies new rules on prairie dog poison

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

The Kansas Department of Agriculture has granted an exemption to allow a blood-thinning poison used to kill prairie dogs to be administered by mechanical feeder rather than by hand.

The hand-delivery requirement located on labels of the poison Rozol were recently implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency. That move came in September when EPA notified manufacturer Liphatech that it was giving tentative approval to the use of the poison for prairie dogs in 10 states, including Kansas.

Although it approved the use, EPA continues to consider the issues that were raised by World Wildlife Fund, which objected to the registration.

The review came two weeks after Defenders of Wildlife and Audubon of Kansas filed a federal lawsuit against EPA for its registration of Rozol.

The lawsuit also took aim at EPA's consideration of registration request for Kaput-D, a product that contains diphacinone, another blood-thinning chemical.

That lawsuit is still pending.

Alarmed by the hand-delivery requirement, applicants filed a request with the Kansas Department of Agriculture permission to use mechanical applicators -- essentially devices mounted on all-terrain vehicle that allow operators to roll up to a prairie dog burrow and push a button to dispense the poison down the hole.

The exemption was granted, according to Lisa Taylor, who had served as the public affairs representative for the department, effective as of Dec. 14 and will continue through March 15. Rozol can legally be applied from Oct. 1 through March 15.

Under federal law, state's have the authority to allow some off-label uses of pesticides. The state's decision, however, is subject to review by the EPA.