Friday, August 20, 2010

NPDES legislative update

Earlier this month I sent a long post trying to summarize the latest legal developments concerning the Clean Water Act, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and commercial pesticide applications.  I'm not going to be long-winded today, other than to say that there has been a lot of opposition to the court's decision to consider label-approved pesticide applications to, or over, water as a discharge of pollutants.  As a result, legislation was introduced on August 5th to explicitly exempt pesticides from other permitting requirements when pesticides are applied according to an approved label.  If passed, the bill would essentially side-step the legal ruling that declared certain pesticides as pollutants and requiring them to obtain an NDPES permit.  According to Senator Lincoln (D-AR), the bill's sponsor,
“Our legislation is very simple: as long as a producer is complying with FIFRA, then no Clean Water Act permit will be required. During the more than 35 years since the enactment of the Clean Water Act, the EPA has never required a permit for the application of FIFRA-registered crop protection products. Our bill would extend this common-sense approach and avoid duplicative, unnecessary burdens on our farmers, foresters, and ranchers.”

I've not had time to study response to this legislation, but I thought I would let you know about it before it's old news.  Here's a link to the bill at govtrack.  It's interesting that the drafters decided to amend FIFRA rather than the Clean Water Act.  This strategy is likely due to the hope that the bill will receive a more sympathetic hearing in the Agriculture Committee, and is therefore more likely to be passed out of committee. Stay tuned for more developments in this lively bit of pesticide history.

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