A group of bipartisan lawmakers Monday introduced H.R. 935, The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2013. The bill would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, Rodenticide Act and the Clean Water Act to clarify Congressional intent and eliminate the requirement of a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for the use of pesticides already approved for use under FIFRA.
The legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives on March 31, 2011 as H.R. 872, The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011. It advanced out of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, but the full Senate failed to consider it during the last Congress.
H.R. 935 addresses the economic consequences of the ruling posed by the case National Cotton Council v. EPA (6th Cir. 2009). Under the court ruling, pesticide users are required to obtain a permit under the Clean Water Act or be subject to a costly fine.
"Under FIFRA, pesticides must undergo extensive and rigorous testing before being approved. To require a duplicative permit for a pesticide that has already been approved through the FIFRA process is not only arbitrary, it’s an unnecessary burden on regulators and applicators and does nothing to improve water quality," said Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., co-sponsor of the bill.
Also sponsoring the bill are Reps. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, Austin Scott, R-Ga. and Mike McIntyre, D-N.C.
Gibbs says the bill removes duplicative and costly red tape requirements while "providing assurance that the pesticide community is not subject to redundant permitting requirements if they comply with EPA’s current regulations.
"This legislation passed last year by a bipartisan super majority, and it is key to job creation and the elimination of unnecessary regulations that hamper our economic growth," Gibbs added.
National council of Famer Cooperatives President Chuck Conner also supported the bill, noting that action on the issue was "long overdue."
"Farmers, growers and ranchers across the country are facing burdensome and redundant regulations and tremendous uncertainty for absolutely no environmental benefit," Conner said in a press statement. "It is clear that Congress always intended the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act to be the law of the land on these sorts of pesticide applications, as pesticides were specifically not included in the Clean Water Act when it was written.
"I hope that the House will once again take up and pass this legislation, as it did in 2011, and I urge members of the Senate to do so as well," Conner added.