House Passes Zika Vector Control Act
The U.S. House of Representatives today approved legislation to prevent a duplicative regulatory process for the approved use of pesticides, and to ensure states, local governments, mosquito control districts, farmers, and other lawful users of pesticides are prepared to help combat any potential outbreak of the Zika virus.
H.R. 897, the Zika Vector Control Act, was introduced in the House by Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Bob Gibbs (R-OH). The bill passed by a vote of 258 to 156.
The bill eliminates, through FY 2018, unnecessary regulatory hurdles for the application of pesticides imposed by a 2009 Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that requires additional permitting under the Clean Water Act. These duplicative requirements stand to impede an effective, preventive response to the Zika virus. Under the bill, the safe use of pesticides, which has been regulated for decades under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), will continue to be regulated under FIFRA.
“Because of a court decision that ignores not just decades of precedent, but the intent of Congress in regulating pesticides, federal, state, and local agencies are spending time and money on administration and compliance rather than protecting public health,” Gibbs said. “EPA has appropriate authority under FIFRA to protect human health and the environment. The requirements imposed by the court do nothing but increase costs.
“This summer, it is becoming more and more evident the Nation will be contending with the outbreak of the Zika virus. We need to be proactive and give those responsible for public health the tools to prevent an outbreak, not wait until there’s an epidemic. This is a responsible, common sense bill that will help ensure public health officials aren’t fighting Zika, a resurgent West Nile virus, or other mosquito-borne threats with their hands tied behind their backs,” said Gibbs.
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