The House Ag Committee on Thursday approved a bill, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2015, to remove pesticide application permitting processes the bill's sponsors say are duplicative.
The committee said the bill clarifies Congressional intent regarding pesticide regulation in or near waters of the United States. The Committee on Agriculture and the full House passed this bill during the two previous Congresses, but the Senate did not act on it.
A 2009 decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit erroneously applied the provisions of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permitting process under the Clean Water Act to pesticide applications that were already fully regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.
The expansion of jurisdictional waters under the waters of the U.S. proposed rule may also increase the regulatory cost and burden associated with the 2009 court decision on food production costs and mosquito control programs, a statement from the committee said.
"It was never the intent of Congress to burden producers with additional permit requirements that would have little to no environmental benefit," Ranking Member Collin Peterson said. "This legislation restores Congressional intent and addresses the court's ruling, alleviating the massive burden of additional permitting requirements."
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"The money and time that farmers have to spend fulfilling redundant, unnecessary requirements is time and money that can be put to better, more productive use," said Rep. K. Michael Conaway, ag committee chairman.
"Making pesticides readily accessible for use is crucial to efficiently protect our nation's food supply and natural resources. Correcting the erroneous court decision that created this duplicative process has been a priority for public health, water resources, and agricultural stakeholders."