Agriculture Committee Advances Bill to Protect Producers from Duplicative Regulations and Permit Requirements

Randall Weiseman Alabama, Field Crops, Florida, General, Georgia, Industry News Release, Specialty Crops, Water

From the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture:

Today, the House Committee on Agriculture approved H.R. 897, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2015. This legislation (H.R. 872 in the 111th Congress and H.R. 935 in the 112th) would clarify Congressional intent regarding pesticide regulation in or near waters of the United States.

A 2009 decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit erroneously applied the provisions of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permitting process under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to pesticide applications that were already fully regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). As a result, many farmers, ranchers, water resource boards and public health professionals involved in mosquito control are subject to costly and duplicative burdens providing no quantifiable public health or environmental benefit.

The expansion of jurisdictional waters under the Administration’s “waters of the United States” proposed rule would likely, and significantly, increase the regulatory cost and burden associated with this court decision on food production costs and mosquito control programs. The Committee on Agriculture and the full House passed this bill during the two previous Congresses, but the Senate failed to act.

“Costly and duplicative regulations and permitting requirements on farmers weaken the economy in rural America,” said Rep. K. Michael Conaway, Chairman of the Agriculture Committee. “The money and time that farmers have to spend fulfilling redundant, unnecessary requirements is time and money that can be put to better, more productive use.
Making pesticides readily accessible for use is crucial to efficiently protect our nation’s food supply and natural resources. Correcting the erroneous court decision that created this duplicative process has been a priority for public health, water resources, and agricultural stakeholders.”

“It was never the intent of Congress to burden producers with additional permit requirements that would have little to no environmental benefit. This legislation restores Congressional intent and addresses the court’s ruling, alleviating the massive burden of additional permitting requirements. The House has consistently supported this legislation and I hope that the Senate will quickly take action,” Ranking Member Collin Peterson said.

“Unnecessary and duplicative federal regulations like this one have made it much more difficult for our family farms to operate,” said Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research. “By simply exerting some common sense, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act will save our farmers from yet another costly mandate and help grow our economy.”