A U.S. Senate committee has stopped what many see as an overreach by the federal government on pesticide use. The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works today passed S. 1500, the Sensible Environmental Protection Act of 2015, a bipartisan measure that amends the Clean Water Act and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to clarify Congressional intent regarding the regulation of the use of pesticides in or near navigable waters. The bill requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to consult with the Secretary of Agriculture and report to Congress on streamlining data collection and use regarding water quality due to the registration and use of pesticides.
The news was welcomed by U.S. Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.
“This duplicative pesticide permitting requirement provides no environmental protections or benefits and is only a nuisance to hard-working farmers and other pesticide applicators,” Roberts said. “I continually hear about this issue from farm country, and I hope we can finally put it to bed once and for all.”
The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives says the measure resolves the regulatory morass created by a misguided and poorly reasoned court decision forced on the EPA.
“It is far past time for this issue to be dealt with once and for all. The intent of Congress has long been clear—FIFRA was always intended to regulate the registration and use of crop protectants and the EPA plays an important role in the process by ensuring that pesticides do not harm human health or the environment,” said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of NCFC. “Quite simply, under FIFRA, the label is the law. Those who do not follow a product’s label are violating the law even without a clean water permit.”
Companion legislation has also passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.