Hagan targets EPA rule

Published 8:41 am Thursday, April 25, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) announced Tuesday they will introduce a bipartisan bill to eliminate an unnecessary and costly Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation on pesticides.

The Sensible Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) of 2013 is cosponsored by a bipartisan group of Senators, including: Carper (D-DE), Coons (D-DE), Risch (R-ID), Heitkamp (D-ND), Vitter (R-LA), McCaskill (D-MO), Inhofe (R-OK), and Donnelly (D-IN).

“Agriculture is the largest industry in North Carolina, and I am committed to ensuring federal policies work for our farmers,” said Hagan. “This bill is not about whether pesticides should be regulated, but rather about eliminating a redundant regulation that provides little or no environmental or public health benefits, and imposes unnecessary burdens on our farmers, states and municipalities and other entities that use pesticides responsibly. I will continue working with my colleagues to eliminate redundant regulations that add unnecessary costs and create legal uncertainty during these difficult economic times.”

For nearly 40 years, the EPA has implemented a comprehensive regulatory scheme for pesticide applications under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). According to the EPA, a new pesticide must undergo over 100 different tests to characterize its potential risks to the environment and human and wildlife heath. Unfortunately, a court decision forced EPA to begin requiring Clean Water Act permits for pesticides applied in, over, or near water. The new permitting system went into effect on Nov. 1, 2011.

SEPA clarifies that Clean Water Act permits are not required for pesticide applications in or near water. The bill also asks EPA to report back to Congress on whether the FIFRA process can be improved to better protect human health and the environment from pesticide applications.

EPA has estimated an additional 365,000 pesticide users – including farmers, ranchers, state agencies, cities, counties, mosquito control districts, water districts, pesticide applicators, and forest managers that perform 5.6 million pesticide applications annually – will be required to obtain Clean Water Act permits. This is nearly double the number of entities previously subject to permitting requirements – forcing states and localities to spend time and precious resources to comply with this unnecessary regulation.

SEPA is supported by 150 farming and forestry groups and state regulators from across the country, including: the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, Agriculture Retailers Association, National Cotton Council, National Alliance of Forest Owners, United Fresh Produce Association and the National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants.