The U.S. House of Representatives today approved bipartisan legislation by Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Bob Gibbs (R-OH) to prevent a duplicative, burdensome regulatory process for the approved and proper use of pesticides.
H.R. 935, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2013, clarifies Congressional intent that regulation of the use of pesticides will continue to be governed by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), and that duplicative regulatory hurdles under the Clean Water Act adds an unnecessary layer of red tape with no substantial benefits. The legislation is a response to a circuit court ruling that vacated the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) long-standing interpretation that the application of a pesticide for its intended purpose and in compliance with the requirements of FIFRA does not require additional permits under the Clean Water Act.
“This bill reverses an ill-advised circuit court ruling that does nothing to enhance existing environmental protections, but makes it more expensive for state and local governments, farmers, ranchers, and others to continue complying with pesticide regulations,” Gibbs said. “EPA already protects human health and the environment under FIFRA, when it reviews the safety of pesticides, determines whether to approve a pesticide for use, and sets the rules for each pesticide’s uses under the product label.”
EPA has estimated that approximately 365,000 pesticide users, including state agencies, cities, counties, mosquito control districts, water districts, pesticide applicators, farmers, ranchers, forest managers, scientists, and even every day citizens, that perform some 5.6 million pesticide applications annually, would be affected by the circuit court’s ruling.
H.R. 935 was drafted very specifically to restore pesticide regulation to the state before the court got involved, and EPA provided technical assistance in drafting this bill so that it would do just that.
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