PLANET NEWS: Support Bill That Reduces Pesticide Regulatory Burdens

PLANET urges Green Industry stakeholders to “ask legislators to support H.R. 872, the ‘Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011’

Under a 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals order in National Cotton Council v. EPA, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits will be required for pesticide applications to, over, or near water beginning April 9, 2011. These Clean Water Act permits are intended to regulate pollution discharges from factories and are not appropriate for pesticide applications. While the initial permit requirements relate primarily to applications of pesticides to or around water, the Clean Water Act’s citizen action provisions could leave terrestrial pesticide applicators vulnerable to lawsuits.

On March 3, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asked the court to delay the April 9 deadline to October 31, 2011. The court has yet to rule on the measure. Even if the extension is granted, congressional action is still needed to specify that NPDES permits should not be required for any pesticide applications.

On March 1, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chair Gibbs (R-Ohio), House Agriculture Horticulture and Nutrition Subcommittee Chair Schmidt (R-Ohio), and Ranking Member Baca (D-Calif.) introduced the “Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011” (H.R. 872). The legislation would clarify that Clean Water Act permits are not required for applications of EPA-registered pesticides. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Mica (R-Fla.), House Agriculture Committee Chairman Lucas (R-Okla.), and House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Peterson (D-Minn.) joined the subcommittee leaders in co-sponsoring the legislation, as did Reps. Boswell (D-Iowa), Cardoza (D-Calif.), Costa (D-Calif.), Crawford (R-Ariz.), Graves (R-Mo.), Herger (R-Calif.), Holden (D-Pa.), Kissell (D-N.C.), Neugebauer (R-Texas), Owens (D-N.Y.), Rooney (R-Fla.), Ross (D-Ariz.), Sablan (D-MP), Shilling (R-Ill.), Simpson (R-Idaho), and Tipton (R-Colo.).

PLANET strongly supports H.R. 872. We urge you to write to your member of Congress and senators, and ask them to support H.R. 872 by Clicking Here.

Also, call your member of Congress at (202) 225-3121. Ask to speak to the staff person who deals with agriculture issues, in your representative’s office and tell them to encourage the legislator to cosponsor H.R. 872.

Whether or not you use pesticides, it is important to contact your representative and senators about this issue because it will have a ripple effect throughout the lawn care and landscape industry and sets a bad precedent. They need to learn who you are and what business you are in. Feel free to customize the letters.