May 25, 2017US House rolls back pesticide restrictions
The U.S. House of Representatives on May 24 approved bipartisan legislation to eliminate “an unnecessary, duplicative, and costly regulatory process under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the approved use of pesticides.”
According to a news release, H.R. 953, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2017, ensures states, local governments, mosquito control districts, and other lawful users of pesticides are able to protect public health and not be overburdened with regulatory processes that provide no additional protections to the environment.
“We’ve seen the consequences of this duplicative and unnecessary permitting requirement since it went into effect in 2011,” said U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, the sponsor of H.R. 953.
“Cities and local governments that conduct routine preventive mosquito abatement should not have to do it with one hand tied behind their backs,” Gibbs said. “This bill ensures the permitting process adheres to EPA’s current authority under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act to approve and regulate these lifesaving pesticides. This is a commonsense measure that provides peace of mind to those living in communities prone to mosquitos by eliminating the need for a redundant permit that diverts resources from the mission of protecting public health. Thank you to Chairman Shuster and Chairman Conaway for your leadership in helping pass this critical regulatory reform.”
“This bill eliminates the pointless duplication of regulation over the lawful use of pesticides,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pennsylvania. “Under this bill, the use of pesticides will continue to be properly regulated, but without excessive burdens on communities, farmers, and private citizens, and without requirements that cause federal and state agencies to spend limited funds on red tape instead of on protecting public health. I commend Congressman Gibbs for his long-standing leadership on this legislation.”
“For too long, American farmers and ranchers have been forced to comply with a costly and duplicative pesticide permitting process,” said Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas. “Pesticides are already fully regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, but a misguided court interpretation has required additional permitting, unnecessarily costing producers both time and money. I applaud the approval of Mr. Gibbs’ commonsense bill to remove this additional hurdle and look forward to giving farmers and applicators much-needed relief from this needless regulation.”
A large coalition of those affected by the current regulatory process wrote in support of the legislation, the American Farm Bureau wrote in support of the bill, and the National Association of Counties wrote to highlight the regulatory impacts on county governments.
Prior to the establishment of the Clean Water Act in 1972, pesticides applications were properly regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). However, a 2009 Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling imposed an additional regulatory process under the Clean Water Act.
The EPA has estimated that this redundant process affects 365,000 pesticide users, including state agencies, cities, counties, mosquito control districts, water districts, pesticide applicators, farmers, ranchers, forest managers, scientists, and private citizens.
“H.R. 953 removes a redundant regulation that was imposed by the Court and not by Congress, and appropriately restores the process to before the Court got involved,” the news release stated.