A pesticide permit ban just endorsed by the Senate Agriculture Committee is not yet assured of a vote in the full Senate. American Farm Bureau's Tyler Wegmeyer says the big question now is whether Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will bring the pesticide permit ban to the Senate floor.
"He has two opinions coming at him from both sides," Wegmeyer said. "That's Senator (Debbie) Stabenow, D-Mich., who wants to take this bill up and then there is also Senator (Barbara) Boxer, D-Calif., who believes the bill should not be taken up. Senator Boxer is the chairwoman of the Environmental Public Works Committee who believe they should have had jurisdiction over the issue."
Boxer opposes amending the Clean Water Act and the so-called FIFRA to allow a way around a 2009 court order that EPA has to require CWA permits for spraying in or near waters by this Oct. 31 when users will otherwise face fines and possible lawsuits.
Wegmeyer says he, corn growers, wheat growers and ag retailers met with Reid before the Agriculture Committee vote to press for floor action. He says Reid didn't tip his hand other than to say he had two strong opinions from two very strong ladies.
"He did not say what his thoughts were," Wegmeyer said. "Meetings are going to be taking place now between the three of them to decide what is going to happen next. Hopefully we can help convince Senator Reid to help Senator Stabenow."
Chairwoman Stabenow held the committee vote in a rare, non-public, off the Senate floor meeting. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, D- N.Y., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., opposed the permit ban on voice vote.