CropLife America says EPA’s proposed water rule creates burdens for agriculture

By Daniel Enoch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, March 27 - CropLife America (CLA) said it is concerned about the impact the EPA's proposed new rule under the Clean Water Act (CWA) would have on crop-production products and agriculture.

The proposal, released earlier this week by EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, is aimed at clarifying which “waters of the U.S.” are protected under the CWA and includes definitions of “navigable” rivers, lakes, streams, coastal areas, wetlands and other water bodies.

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In a news release, CropLife America said the proposed regulations may “greatly expand these definitions to include additional bodies of water, and influence the jurisdictional reach of all programs of the CWA, creating additional unnecessary regulatory burdens for the agricultural community and applicators of pesticide products.”

“The jurisdictional reach of the Clean Water Act is the foundation of federal control over private property and business activity,” said Jay Vroom, CLA's president and CEO, who added that the proposal could infringe on states' rights. “CLA believes that the states must be more closely consulted on the management of their waters.”

The EPA proposal also impacts federal control over certain crop-protection product applications near bodies of water and enforcement of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permits for pesticides, CLA said. The organization represents more than 60 developers, manufacturers, formulators and distributors of virtually all the crop protection products used by American farmers and growers. Its members and affiliates include Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences, John Deere, Bayer Crop Science and the Coco-Cola Co.

Vroom said “jurisdictional expansions” under the plan could trigger “unnecessary expanded oversight” of pesticide applications covered by NPDES permits. He urged Congress to pass H.R. 935, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2013, which would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the CWA to clarify Congressional intent and eliminate the requirement of NPDES permits for the use of pesticides approved for use under FIFRA. The House Agriculture Committee approved H.R. 935 by a voice vote this month; the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed the measure in the 113th Congress.

Vroom said it was “unfortunate and ironic'' that the EPA released the proposed regulations, which he said “threaten to unduly impact agriculture,” on March 25, National Agriculture Day, “an occasion to celebrate the great efforts of America's farmers and ranchers.”

CLA said it is conducting an initial review of the EPA proposal and intends to submit comments when the rulemaking is published in the Federal Register.

For more information on CLA's position on the CWA, click here

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