The deadline for EPA to start issuing permits for pesticide spraying in or near water is now less than a week away. The U.S. House has already approved a measure to ban the court-ordered permitting, but it's been held up in the Senate Environment Committee by Senators Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Ben Cardin, D-Md. Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, doesn't expect anything to change by Monday, the Oct. 31 deadline. He says Boxer and Cardin don't seem to understand the weight of their failure to act.
"Every farmer during July and August has to go out and check their soybeans for aphids. If they have aphids you have to spray within a few hours, you aren't going to have time to get all the permits that you have to have to get it. So does Boxer and Cardin want us to produce food or don't they?" Grassley said. "I would hope that they would come around to realization that it is just very, very impractical to have productive agriculture and a well fed society and have bureaucrats deciding for even hours to get a permit and it would probably be more like weeks, and let the aphids eat up all the leaves on our soybeans and not have a soybean crop."
Earlier this year, Grassley says EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson seemed to understand the problem and the need for a more workable solution. The requirement to apply for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit under the Clean Water Act was dictated by a Sixth Court of Appeals ruling in 2009. An earlier deadline was extended at the request of EPA. While the EPA could ask the courts for another deadline extension, a Regulatory Specialist at the American Farm Bureau Federation has suggested they're less likely to do so this time around.