What is in this article?:
• The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an EPA rule that exempted pesticide applications over or near water from the Clean Water Act's National Pollutant discharge Elimination System permits.
• Farm organizations filed friends of the court briefs in the appeal of the ruling, but the ruling was upheld.
• EPA has begun the process for developing a permit for such applications. The permit is expected to be completed by December, and EPA and the states are expected to begin implementing the permit requirement by April 2011.
• Legislation introduced in the House on Thursday would eliminate the requirement for permits if the pesticide application is made consistent with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act label.
A U.S. 6th Circuit Court ruling that would require a permitting system for all applications of pesticides over or near bodies of water is beginning to attract congressional attempts to override the ruling and restore FIFRA as the governing document for those applications.
On Thursday, Sept. 30, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson introduced legislation that would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act and the Clean Water Act to prohibit additional permits for pesticide applications when they are applied consistent with FIFRA.
“This legislation provides farmers and ranchers with the safe harbor they deserve in the application of pesticides,” said Petterson, a Democrat from Minnesota. “The bill relieves producers from a potentially costly regulatory burden that does little if anything to protect the environment.”
A total of 12 House members joined Peterson as co-sponsors of the bill, H.R. 6273.
In the decades since Congress enacted the CWA, the Environmental Protection Agency has never issued a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the application of a pesticide, the House Ag Committee said in a press release.
Instead, EPA has regulated these types of applications through FIFRA, enacted by Congress to control all aspects of pesticide registration, sales and use. The FIFRA registration process includes stringent requirements for a wide range of environmental, health and safety studies to establish the circumstances under which pesticides can be legally used in the United States.