Lucas Introduces Bill to Protect Ag Producers on from Threat of More EPA Regs

Aug 10, 2010

Tamara Hinton (202) 225-0184

WASHINGTON – Today, Ranking Member Frank Lucas, along with six of his colleagues on the House Agriculture Committee, introduced a bill (H.R. 6087), which clarifies that the use of a pesticide consistent with its registration under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) should not be subject to a costly, redundant, and unnecessary permit process under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

Since passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, the Environmental Protection Agency has interpreted the act to exclude lawful pesticide applications regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) from National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. However, in January 2009, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that longstanding practice in The National Cotton Council of America, et al., v. United States Environmental Protection Agency. The court ruled the EPA did not have the authority under the CWA to exempt application of pesticides. Last year, Rep. Lucas joined several of his colleagues and supported a petition to the Supreme Court to hear the case, but the petition was rejected.
Ranking Member Lucas' bill would make clear that producers who are in compliance with the requirements of FIFRA do not need to obtain Clean Water Act permits.
"Instead of challenging the courts' misguided decision, the Obama administration has chosen to leave our farmers, ranchers, foresters, mosquito-control districts, and even States to face an enormous regulatory burden never intended by Congress
"Since the passage of the Clean Water Act, the EPA had interpreted the act to exclude lawful pesticide applications.  Under the Bush administration, the EPA issued a final regulation codifying this long-standing practice.  The current political leadership of the EPA has chosen a different path.  It is one that on a daily basis adds more and more regulatory burdens on our agricultural producers.

"It is now up to the Congress to fix this problem before the EPA imposes this new bureaucracy on American agriculture. I urge all of my colleagues to join me in this effort." said Ranking Member Frank D. Lucas.

H.R. 6087 is a companion bill to S. 3735, which was introduced by Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR).