Published: June 14, 2012
Updated: June 14, 2012
Background & Talking Points
June 14, 2012
- On January 7, 2009, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a 2006 EPA rule which had exempted pesticides applied near, over, or into waters of the U.S. from National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits under the Clean Water Act (CWA) if those pesticides were applied in accordance with the FIFRA label.
- EPA estimates that approximately 5.6 million such applications are performed annually by 365,000 applicators. These permits will result in a significant workload increase for federal and state regulatory programs who currently issue about 15,000 permits per year.
- The permits include new requirements for applicators including monitoring and surveillance, planning, record-keeping, and reporting which will create significant delays and costs. There are also the legal risks from citizen suits. All this with NO additional environmental protection.
- To make matters worse, under Endangered Species Act consultation, the National Marines Fisheries Service recently issued its Biological Opinion on the general pesticide permit. NMFS is claiming the permits will jeopardize 33 endangered species and is imposing restrictions impossible to meet. The Fish &
Wildlife Service, which oversees far more species, has yet to issue its opinion.
- In March of last year, the House passed a bipartisan bill, H.R. 872, which amends both the CWA and FIFRA to prevent such redundant regulatory burdens. The bill also passed favorably through the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee. Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chair of the Environmental and Public Works Committee, and Ben Cardin (D-MD) put a hold on the bill.
- On June 12, Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC), in conjunction with Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), filed an amendment to the Senate Farm Bill which essentially includes the language of H.R. 872.