WASHINGTON, D.C.— (NACD) Oct. 18, 2010 — The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) is supporting bipartisan efforts to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from moving forward on unprecedented regulation of pesticides under the Clean Water Act (CWA). In letters sent today to leadership of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, NACD President Steve Robinson urged Congress to move forward on legislation ensuring that farmers, ranchers and foresters may continue using pesticides in compliance with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), without additional CWA permitting requirements.
“EPA conducts a rigorous analysis of the health and environmental effects of a proposed use of a pesticide; when used in compliance with the EPA-approved label, FIFRA-registered pesticides have already been proven safe,” said Robinson. “Rather than spending precious time and resources on duplicative permitting efforts, EPA should instead be focused on working with landowners to support on-the-ground conservation solutions with true environmental value. Forcing producers to go through an additional burdensome permitting process will only increase production costs and add stress on already overburdened state resources, without providing any additional environmental benefits.”
Since CWA’s enactment more than 35 years ago, EPA has never required a CWA permit for the application of FIFRA-registered pesticides. Legislation introduced by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), and separate bills in the House by Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK), would prevent EPA from doing so in the future.
The legislation is a response to a 6th Circuit Court ruling that National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permits are required for all pesticide applications made to, over, or near U.S. bodies of water. Prior to this ruling, EPA considered pesticide applications in accordance with FIFRA exempt from CWA permits
In addition to increasing production costs and adding confusion and red-tape to the permitting process, the ruling could put landowners at increased risk of litigation.
“Requiring additional permits could put landowners at risk of inadvertent CWA violations, resulting in fines of up to $37,500 per day,” said Robinson. “Commonsense, bipartisan legislation would help protect landowners and ensure the continued preservation of water quality through strict FIFRA guidelines.”
To view the full text of the letters, visit: http://www.nacdnet.org/policy/input/letters/.
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