A coalition of agriculture groups, including National Farmers Union and the American Farm Bureau Federation, is supporting the legislation introduced by Senate Ag Chair Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., and Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., last week. The bill would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act to improve the use of registered pesticides and avoid permitting for pesticide application under the Clean Water Act. NFU President Roger Johnson says the measure seeks to provide producers with much needed regulatory certainty when managing crops.
NFU says the legislation also responds to current EPA efforts to establish a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit for pesticide applications. Its establishment is required by April of next year under the same Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that vacated an earlier EPA rule that exempted certain pesticide applications from Clean Water Act permits if the applications were made in accordance with FIFRA requirements. The NPDES permit would place additional restrictions on pesticide applications beyond stringent requirements already in place under FIFRA.
The ag groups say the Lincoln-Chambliss measure is a sound approach to remove the duplication, confusion and justifiable concern created by the Sixth Circuit ruling and will provide fully adequate protections for water quality when pesticides are used.