Posted: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 5:02 PM
WASHINGTON, D.C. --The Senate Agriculture Committee has passed a bill clarifying whether farmers who apply pesticides need a special permit.
HR872 passed June 21 on a bipartisan vote.
The bill clarifies that National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits are not required when applying pesticides according to their labels, according to a National Association of Corn Growers press release.
The House of Representatives passed the legislation in April.
For most of the past four decades, water quality concerns from pesticide applications were addressed by the registration process under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, rather than a Clean Water Act permitting program, the NACG release said.
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 expose farmers to potential citizen action suits for something as simple as paperwork violations, according to the release.
The bill amends the Clean Water Act and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act to restore the previous regulatory framework.