Pesticide permit bill underscores need for workable WOTUS rule

by World Grain Staff
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ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, U.S. — The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) on Aug. 6 called on the U.S. Congress to pass legislation withdrawing the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, in the wake of the Senate Environment & Public Work’s Committee’s decision to advance a bill easing requirements for pesticide permit applications.

“This will cut regulatory red tape out of the pesticide permitting process,” said NCGA president Chip Bowling. “Anything we can do to cut Washington red tape will help farmers. This bill also underscores the problems with EPA’s new Waters of the U.S. rule. The rule significantly expands the reach and power of the federal paperwork, more permits and more hassle, without actual water quality benefits. The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers must work with farmers to rewrite WOTUS.”

Historically, water quality concerns related to pesticide applications were addressed within the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, rather than a Clean Water Act permitting program. However, in 2009 a federal court said that pesticide users are required to apply for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit under the Clean Water Act if the chemical is sprayed over, near or into a body of water.

Under the Federal Insecticide and Rodenticide Act, all pesticides are reviewed and regulated for use with strict instructions on the EPA approved product label. A thorough review and accounting of impacts to water quality and aquatic species is included in every EPA review. Requiring water permits for pesticide applications is redundant and provides no additional environmental benefit.
The Environmental Protection Act  of 2015 (S. 1500) sponsored by Sens. Mike Crapo and Claire McCaskill, would clarify that federal law does not require this redundant permit for already regulated pesticide applications.

“NCGA urges congress to move forward with this bill, and to pass legislation to withdraw the WOTUS rule and require EPA and the Corps to work with agriculture and other stakeholders to rewrite this rule,” said Bowling.
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