Colorado Corn applauds passage of H.R. 872 in Senate Ag Committee
Common sense has ruled the day, according to the Colorado Corn Growers Association, after the Senate Agriculture Committee passed H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011, with a strong bipartisan vote.
This legislation clarifies that National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits are not required when applying pesticides according to their EPA approved label. The House of Representatives passed this legislation in April.
"This is a great step forward in reducing unnecessary fees and delays for Colorado farmers," said Colorado Corn Executive Director Mark Sponsler. "The process is already over-regulated and now we are seeing common sense win out in Washington."
Colorado Corn Growers talked with Sen. Michael Bennett, who serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee. "Sen. Bennett and most of the Committee stepped up and voted clearly to get red tape out of the way of farmers so they can focus on feeding and fueling this country," Sponsler said.
The National Corn Growers Association echoed that sentiment on the work of the committee. "NCGA greatly appreciates the work of Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow and members of the committee to pass this important legislation," NCGA President Bart Schott, a farmer in Kulm, N.D. said. "We are pleased to see both the Senate and House understand the significance of this bill and how farmers could be impacted by NPDES permits for pesticides."
For most of the past four decades, water quality concerns from pesticide applications were addressed within the registration process under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, rather than a Clean Water Act permitting program. H.R. 872 amends both the Clean Water Act and FIFRA in order to restore the previous regulatory framework.
Under a federal court ruling in 2009, pesticide applicators would have to apply for an NPDES permit if the chemical reaches a body of water, which could include ditches and culverts. While NPDES permits will not provide any additional environmental benefits, the complex new requirements will expose farmers to potential citizen action suits for something as simple as paperwork violations.