The U.S. House on March 31 passed a bill eliminating a proposed requirement that irrigation districts, mosquito control districts and others that treat large acreages obtain a separate permit for applying pesticides on or near water.

HR872 clarifies pesticide law by amending the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act and the Clean Water Act in such a way that eliminates the need for the additional permit.

Pesticide applications already are regulated under FIFRA, bill backers contend. The proposed EPA rule would require a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit -- issued under the Clean Water Act -- for applying pesticides near water.

EPA proposed the new rule in response to a 2009 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.

"With the U.S. House's passage of HR872, there is clear support for a regulatory environment that doesn't strap farmers with unnecessary red tape," Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif said in a prepared statement.

"The FIFRA registration and labeling process is and should remain the one and only standard for pesticide approval," said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., who cosponsored HR872. "It is imperative that this legislation quickly gain the Senate's approval so the President can sign it into law and prevent the economic havoc that the Sixth Circuit Court's ruling would have on our farmers, ranchers and local governments."

The bill passed the House 292-130.

--Mitch Lies

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