House action aims to clarify pesticide permit requirements<
By Agri-Pulse staff
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
WASHINGTON, March 31 - The U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011 with a strong bipartisan vote of 292 to 130. This legislation states that National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits are not required when applying pesticides according to their EPA approved label.
The bill eliminates a costly and duplicative permitting requirement for the application of pesticides already approved for use under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The requirement is the result of what many lawmakers say is a “misguided” court decision in National Cotton Council v. EPA by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to require new permits prior to pesticide application.
On Monday, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals gave federal and state water regulators until Oct. 31 of this year to promulgate the new permitting process stemming from its decision in National Cotton Council v. EPA. The original deadline was April 9. But that extension “did not fix the underlying problem,” Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said in a “Dear Colleague” letter.
“The impact on all pesticides users required to obtain this extra permit will be the same in October as it is today. There is no difference in the burden, cost, or real impact on their livelihoods,” they wrote.
After passage on the House floor today, Chairman Lucas and Peterson issued the following statements.
"I am proud to be a part of the bipartisan effort that led to the House passage of H.R. 872. The last thing the agricultural community needs is another government mandate. This bill eliminates a costly and duplicative permitting requirement that is the result of a court's fundamental ignorance of Congressional intent. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to join our efforts so that we can get a bill to the President before more valuable resources are wasted," said Chairman Lucas.
“We first began looking into ways to address this issue last fall and I am pleased that, on a bipartisan vote, the House has approved H.R. 872. The courts are not the place to decide agriculture policy and this bill makes clear that it was never the intent of Congress to burden producers with additional permit requirements that would have little to no environmental benefit. I urge the Senate to quickly follow suit and provide certainty to producers by passing this legislation,” said Ranking Member Peterson.
Similar legislation is expected to be introduced in the Senate.
To see the roll call vote: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2011/roll206.xml
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