Monday, June 27, 2011

Just in from Washington

AFBF Welcomes Committee Passage of NPDES Permitting Bill

Washington--The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased that the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday passed H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011, in a strong bipartisan vote. The measure clarifies that National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits are not required when applying pesticides according to Environmental Protection Agency-approved labels.

For most of the past four decades, water quality concerns from pesticide applications were addressed within the registration process under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, rather than a Clean Water Act permitting program. H.R. 872 amends both the Clean Water Act and FIFRA in order to restore the previous regulatory framework.

Under a federal court ruling in 2009, pesticide applicators would have to apply for an NPDES permit if the chemical reaches a body of water, which could include ditches and culverts. While NPDES permits will not provide any additional environmental benefits, the complex new requirements would have exposed farmers to potential citizen action suits for something as simple as paperwork violations.

The House passed the bill that was sponsored by Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) on March 31. Gibbs is a past president of the Ohio Farm Bureau.

Los Angeles Times article

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