By Jon H. Harsch
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
Washington, Sept. 23 – According to Croplife America President and CEO Jay Vroom, current concerns over new EPA rules for pesticide use could be only the tip of a deadly iceberg.
Testifying in a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing Thursday “to Examine the Impact of EPA Regulation on Agriculture,” Vroom warned of “ a train wreck ahead of us.” He said major problems began when the U.S. 6th Circuit Court overturned EPA’s 2006 rule last year – and the administration failed to challenge the decision. That rule specifically exempted aquatic pesticide applications from the Clean Water Act's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).
Vroom said the resulting problem now involves “three conflicting laws, three conflicting and out-of-touch and redundant federal agencies” – the EPA, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS). As required by the Endangered Species Act, EPA must consult with the FWS or the NMFS regarding the effect of pesticides on endangered species. Because this complex arrangement is both unworkable and an entry point for environmental activists, Vroom says, “This issue will have nationwide consequences.” As a measure of the potential impact, he pointed out that “In January 2010, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a Notice of Intent to sue the EPA that could negatively affect the use of nearly 400 crop protection compounds across the entire United States.”
Echoing both senators and other witnesses at the hearing, Vroom emphasized that “American agriculture depends on the responsible use of crop protection products to feed, clothe and power our nation and the world.” With continued use of agricultural chemicals seriously threatened by a “broken” federal process which seems to ignore both economics and science, he told senators that their Senate Agriculture Committee “may well determine whether the pesticide program descends further into disarray – regulating based on unsupported science, activism and politics – or whether you can thoughtfully guide EPA back to the order of FIFRA’s transparent, science-based review and rigorous process.”
For Stewart Doan's audio report on the Senate hearing, EPA's Jackson tells Senate Ag her agency isn't targeting agriculture, go to: www.agri-pulse.com/uploaded/SenateAg092310.mp3
To read more from the Senate Agriculture Committee hearing, go to: www.agri-pulse.com/201009H23_Senate_Ag_Chair_Lincoln_Blasts_EPA_Policy.asp
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