Lawmakers work to reduce pesticide regulatory burden

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, March 5, 2013 - A group of bipartisan lawmakers introduced H.R. 935, The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2013 yesterday, including Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-NC, and Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore.

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The bill would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) to clarify Congressional intent and eliminate the requirement of a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the use of pesticides already approved for use under FIFRA.

This legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives on March 31, 2011 as H.R. 872 and was approved by the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, but the full Senate failed to consider it during the last Congress.

The measure is designed to address the ruling posed by the case National Cotton Council v. EPA (6th Cir. 2009). Under the court ruling, pesticide users are required to obtain a redundant permit under the Clean Water Act (CWA) or be subject to a costly fine.

 “Federal agencies continue to develop and implement duplicative regulations that create undue burdens and more red tape for American citizens. H.R. 935 will provide clarity with EPA regulations, which will in turn allow citizens to better navigate the regulatory environment,” said Rep. Austin Scott, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture.

"Reducing regulations, helping farmers and the agriculture community, and eliminating unfunded mandates for state and local governments are keys to helping create jobs and put people to work.  This bill is a great step toward reforming the regulatory process, streamlining government, and saving taxpayers' time and money.  Let's pass this common sense bill now," said Rep. Mike McIntyre.

The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) praised efforts by the bipartisan group.

“Congressmen Gibbs, Scott, Schrader and McIntyre should be commended for their leadership in re-introducing this legislation in the 113th Congress,” said Chuck Conner, president & CEO of NCFC. “The time for action on this issue is long overdue-farmers, growers and ranchers across the country are facing burdensome and redundant regulations and tremendous uncertainty for absolutely no environmental benefit.”

“It is clear that Congress always intended the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to be the law of the land on these sorts of pesticide applications, as pesticides were specifically not included in the Clean Water Act when it was written,” continued Conner. “I hope that the House will once again take up and pass this legislation, as it did in 2011, and I urge members of the Senate to do so as well.”

 

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