Thursday, March 31, 2011

Just in from Washington

House to Consider Bill Ending Overlapping EPA Permits

Washington--The full House is expected to take up H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011, when it returns from recess. Farm Bureau strongly supports the bill and is seeking co-sponsors.

Last week, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved the legislation by a vote of 46-8. Two weeks ago, the House Agriculture Committee passed it by unanimous consent.

Introduced by Reps. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) and Joe Baca (D-Calif.), the bipartisan bill would eliminate the burdensome and overlapping permit requirements resulting from the National Cotton Council v.EPA (6th Circuit 2009) case. H.R. 872 would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) to clarify that CWA permits are not needed when a pesticide is applied in accordance with a FIFRA-approved label.

In National Cotton Council v.EPA, the court gave EPA until April 9 to implement a permit system. EPA has asked the court to extend this until Oct. 31. Environmental groups filed in opposition to EPA’s request. If the court does not grant EPA’s request, regulated pesticide applications will require permit coverage by April 9. During the period while the court is considering the extension request, permits for pesticide applications will not be required under the CWA.

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