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.
Crop protection industry officials say the 6th Circuit ruling could lead to performance, recordkeeping and reporting requirements for an estimated 1.5 million pesticide applications per year. EPA is under a court-ordered deadline of April 2011 to complete the implementation of a permitting system.
“This one decision overnight will nearly double the population of entities requiring permits under CWA and affects state agencies, local municipalities, recreation, utility rights-of-way, railroads, roads and highways, mosquito control districts, water districts, canals and other water conveyances, commercial applicators, farm, ranches, forestry, scientists, and many, many others,” said Jay Vroom, president of CropLife America. (For background information please see http://southeastfarmpress.com/government/epas-npdes-permit-plans-too-optimistic.)
“This is an enormous burden — and we see no related benefit to protection of humans or the environment.”
Vroom told a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing that many of the businesses impacted by the permit are small businesses. “The permit will threaten their economic survival, either due to the cost of obtaining a permit or due to their vulnerability to citizen law suits under CWA,” he said.
“New requirements for monitoring and surveillance, planning, recordkeeping, reporting and other tasks will create significant delays, costs, reporting burdens and legal risks from citizen suits for hundreds of thousands of newly-minted permit holders without enhancing the environmental protections already provided by FIFRA compliance.”