WASHINGTON, Oct. 28 – Republican leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees condemned Senate Democrats this week for delaying action on the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act (H.R. 872), which is intended to curb implementation of what they say is an overly costly and redundant pesticide permitting rule from the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

In 2009, a federal appeals court determined that the EPA must issue permits for pesticide use near waterways. Under the requirement, set to take effect November 1, 2011, approximately 365,000 pesticide applicators will need permits to cover about 5.6 million applications per year. 

In June 2011, Senate Agriculture Committee members passed H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011, out of committee where it now awaits debate and a vote on the Senate floor. H.R. 872, which would eliminate the additional permitting process, passed the House of Representatives earlier this year.

“With the Senate in recess, there remains no time to pass a legislative fix before the Oct. 31 deadline takes effect,” said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) in a statement Thursday. “Because of delays and inaction from extremist Democrats in the Senate, business owners, farmers and ranchers across the country will soon be tied up in yet another layer of red tape, hindering their ability to do business.”

U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) today released the following statement about efforts to address the October 31 deadline:

"The best way to eliminate uncertainty regarding pesticide applications is for the Senate to pass the bipartisan H.R. 872, which eliminates red tape, redundant permitting and burdensome costs,” Roberts said. "Attempts to use a moratorium to leverage a controversial and overly broad study that threatens agriculture production will only increase confusion facing our farmers, ranchers and state and local health agencies. It simply kicks the can down the road and creates controversy where there is existing bipartisan agreement. I cannot support this approach when a real solution, H.R. 872, is at hand and will solve the problem permanently."


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