Lincoln & Chambliss introduce FIFRA bill to protect farmers from excessive EPA regulation

By Stewart Doan

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, Aug. 6 – Before leaving Capitol Hill Thursday evening, the top two leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee introduced legislation that would overturn a federal court ruling directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate pesticide applications under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

The court's ruling stated that any pesticide application from which any residue makes its way into the “waters of the U.S.” are required to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit under the CWA.

The legislation co-authored by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) amends the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by stating, “Not withstanding any other law, no permit shall be required for the use of a pesticide that is registered or otherwise authorized for use under this Act, if that use is in accordance with [the label].”

“Subjecting our farmers, foresters, and ranchers to an additional layer of bureaucracy under the Clean Water Act was never Congress’ intent,” said Lincoln. “Our legislation is very simple: as long as a producer is complying with FIFRA, then no Clean Water Act permit will be required. During the more than 35 years since the enactment of the Clean Water Act, the EPA has never required a permit for the application of FIFRA-registered crop protection products.

“Once again the EPA has overreached its authority, causing serious consequences for our agriculture sector,” said Chambliss. “By refusing to defend current law and its own reasonable regulations, the EPA is unfortunately in the position to place unnecessary, burdensome and duplicative permit requirements on producers, mosquito control districts and states. Our legislation would simply prevent the EPA from imposing an erroneous regulation that does absolutely nothing to further protect or enhance the environment.”

On June 2, EPA proposed a general permit covering pesticide applications to control mosquitoes and other flying insect pests, aquatic weeds and algae, and forest canopy pests. The new permitting program is scheduled to take effect in April 2011.

To read the Lincoln/Chambliss bill to amend FIFRA, go to:

To return to the News Index page, click: