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Cochran looking to kill new pesticides regulations

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) is co-sponsoring legislation to eliminate new and redundant federal regulatory requirements on the application of some pesticides, including those used by communities to control mosquitoes.

The legislation (S.718) would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from using the Clean Water Act to require a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for pesticides already permitted under a separate federal law. The additional EPA permitting requirement is the result of a 2009 opinion from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in National Cotton Council v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“Taxpayers, farmers, business owners and local governments are again faced with the prospect of more federal intervention and costs for a practice that is already well regulated,” said Cochran, a member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. “This legislation would exempt pesticides currently regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act from the new permit requirements now being developed by the EPA. The new permits are redundant and would increase the cost of controlling insect-related diseases like the West Nile virus.”

The agriculture industry and public health agencies currently employ pesticides regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). But as a result of the Sixth Circuit opinion, the EPA issued a draft general permit in June 2010 outlining additional permit requirements. The draft estimated that the NPDES permit mandate will affect about 35,000 pesticide applicators nationwide and cost states, local entities and pesticide applicators $50.1 million annually.

The additional NPDES permit would add performance, recordkeeping and reporting requirements to an estimated 1.5 million pesticide applications per year, and preempt the science-based ecological review of pesticides and label requirements for uses regulated under FIFRA, according to Cochran. The EPA now has court approval to implement the new permitting requirement starting Oct. 31.

Source: Sen. Thad Cochran

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