Sen. Roberts presses Stabenow to block EPA overreach on pesticides

By Jon H. Harsch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, April 13 - Ten Republican senators sent a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Wednesday urging immediate committee action to block “continued regulatory overreach by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).”

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The letter from Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Sens. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Mike Johanns, R-Neb., John Boozman, R-Ark., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, John Thune, R-S.D., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., says there's an urgent need to block the court-ordered “requirement that a significant number of pesticide applications will soon need a permit under the Clean Water Act (CWA).” The letter points out that “This permit is in addition to compliance requirements already mandated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).”

The 10 senators call for committee passage of the House-passed H.R. 872, a bill “To amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to clarify Congressional intent regarding the regulation of the use of pesticides in or near navigable waters.” Sen. Roberts has introduced companion legislation, S. 718, “A bill to amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act to improve the use of certain registered pesticides.”

The senators warn that urgent action is needed because current EPA plans, due to take effect Oct. 31, threaten “not merely a regulatory burden but could endanger public health as we enter mosquito season.”

Responding to Wednesday's letter from all 10 Republican members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Stabenow stated that “I continue to be deeply committed to finding common sense solutions to eliminate duplicative and costly hurdles for our producers and agribusinesses and appreciate the interest in this from Ranking Member Roberts and the Republican members of the Committee. As Senator Roberts knows, the Agriculture Committee under my leadership has been working on those common sense solutions on a bipartisan basis and I would like to continue to do so. The House bill was just recently referred to my Committee and will certainly be a part of an effort that has been underway since well before it was passed in the House.”

“To read the letter to Senator Stabenow from the 10 Republican senators, click HERE.

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