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USGS Documents Threat of Pesticides to Waterways; Farm Bill Amendment Undermines Clean Water Act

Monday, May 20th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, May 20, 2013) The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a national assessment that shows the distribution and trends of pesticide use from 1992-2009, providing visible evidence that contamination of pesticides in our nation’s water is clearly a continuing threat. Meanwhile, U.S. Senators are gearing up to put their version of the Farm   Bill on the table that would eliminate common sense protections from pesticide applications into our nation’s waterways. These highly controversial  amendments would undermine the Clean Water Act and put our health and the environment at risk. Tell your Senators to oppose any efforts to undermine the Clean Water Act. The USGS maps provide, for the first time, a visible depiction of the agricultural use of 459 pesticides for each year during 1992-2009. Maps were created by allocating county-level use estimates to agricultural land within each county. A graph accompanies each map, which shows annual national use by major crop for the mapped pesticide for each year during the period. These pesticide use estimates are suitable for evaluating national and regional patterns and trends of annual pesticide use. To see the maps, go to USGS’s Pesticide National Synthesis Project Page and click on a pesticide. The […]

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Take Action: Senators Work with Industry on Yet Another Bill to Strip Water Protections

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, May 1, 2013) Last week, U.S. Senator Kay Hagan, (D-NC), and Larry Wooten, president of the North Carolina Farm Bureau, announced new legislation that will be introduced to eliminate Clean Water Act permits required for certain applications of pesticides on or near waterways. The bill to be introduced by Sens. Hagan and Mike Crapo (R-ID) is called “The Sensible Environmental Protection Act (SEPA).” This is the latest in a string of attacks lobbied by industry to remove Clean Water Act protections for streams receiving pesticide discharges. Take Action: Urge your Senators Not to Support This Bill The bill, The Sensible Environmental Protection Act (S-EPA), announced last Monday by Senators Hagan and Crapo is said to be a bipartisan effort to remove so-called “redundant, unnecessary and costly regulation” on farmers and local governments.  According to Senator Hagan, the Clean Water Act does not provide any additional health benefits.  S-EPA, not to be confused with the School Environment Protection Act  (a real effort to protect children from pesticides),  will clarify that Clean Water Act permits are not required for pesticide applications in or near water. The bill also asks the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to report back to Congress […]

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EPA Upholds Clean Water Act, Steps in to Add Impaired Streams to State List

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, March 27, 2013) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stepped in this week to revise a biennial report on impaired rivers and streams across West Virginia, after state officials, under pressure from industry interests, left more than 1,000 miles of polluted waterways off the list. EPA officials stated that the Clean Water Act does not allow the state to ignore evidence that streams are troubled. Water standards and plans for cleanup must be adopted for impaired waterways. EPA reprimanded West Virginia from shirking its responsibilities under the law to list all of the state’s impaired streams, in spite of industry interference. EPA Region  3 officials are now proposing to add an additional 255 waterway segments where aquatic life is impaired to the state’s 303(d) list, named for the section of the Clean Water Act that requires it be prepared. Section 303(d) requires a listing of impaired streams in the state, and the list is used for water standard development for subsequent cleanup plans and restoration of the impaired waterways. States are required to publish such lists every two years. West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) submitted The West Virginia Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report   […]

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New Legislation and Sequestration Will Limit Pesticide Oversight

Monday, March 11th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, March 11, 2013) Recent sequester cuts and new proposed Congressional legislation could dramatically affect the safety of American waterways. According to a February 25 email, the White House Council on Environmental Quality estimates that the recent sequester could reduce federal funding for state environmental programs by $154 million. These cuts, which kicked in March 1, impact all states, with California losing the most funding totaling $12.4 million. The email also contains estimates that grants to federal fish and wildlife programs would be cut by $46.2 million. As these cuts begin to take effect, U.S. Representative Bob Gibbs (R-OH) introduced the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2013 (H.R. 935) on March 4. This bill, which is similar to a piece of legislation that was passed in the house in 2011, will eliminate the requirement for pesticide applicators to file Clean Water Act (CWA) permits for applications where pesticides could be discharged into water. The recent sequester has led to losses in “environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste,” according to the White House Council on Environmental Quality. The cuts that could most affect states’ ability to enforce […]

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Fed Legislation Would Weaken Pesticide Rules to Protect Water

Monday, February 4th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, February 4, 2013) U.S. Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Mike Johanns (R-NE) re-introduced legislation that would reduce the review requirements for pesticides applied directly to water. Similar legislation was passed in the House of Representatives in March 2011. The previous Senate version of the bill, called the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011, passed through the Senate Agriculture Committee but never reached the Senate floor because of a hold placed on the legislation by Senators Barbra Boxer (D-CA) and Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD). This re-introduced legislation would reduce pesticide testing by ensuring that Clean Water Act (CWA) permits are not required for the application of pesticides. In 2009, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the case of the National Cotton Council et al. v. EPA that pesticides discharged into water are pollutants and required to be permitted under the CWA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). This ruling overturned Bush administration policy that exempted pesticides from regulation under the CWA and applied the less protective standards of the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). CWA uses a health-based standard known as maximum contamination levels (MCLs) to protect waterways and requires permits when chemicals are directly […]

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Pesticides Blamed for Fish Kill on Canadian Coast

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, July 11, 2012) Hundreds of dead fish have been found in Prince Edward Island, Canada, the second in two years, prompting concerns about the use of pesticides in the province’s agriculture industry, and the effectiveness of mitigation measures to reduce pesticide runoff. It is believed that pesticide runoff from nearby agricultural fields after heavy rains are to blame for the massive fish kill. More than 2,000 fish have been scooped from the near two-mile stretch of Barclay Brook in Coleman since last Thursday following heavy rainfall, more than triple the amount of fish that washed up on the same shores of the brook last year, although the current discovery is concentrated in a smaller area. It is believed the actual number of dead fish is much higher, as predators and river currents would have quickly taken away the remains of other fish. Barclay Brook is part of the Trout River watershed, the scene of a devastating fish kill last July that mainly wiped out large fish. An investigation is underway to determine the exact cause of the fish kill, given that water temperature and oxygen levels were within acceptable ranges and the fish looked healthy and well-fed. As […]

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Take Action! New Farm Bill Amendments Attack Your Health and Environment

Monday, June 18th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, June 18, 2012) Once again, attempts to repeal the Clean Water Act permits for pesticide discharges are underway in Congress. This week the 2012 Farm Bill will be introduced to the Senate floor where measures to attack environmental laws have been added unceremoniously to the bill, including the controversial H.R. 872, Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act, which seeks to undermine federal authority to monitor our nation’s waterways for pesticide contamination, as well as eroding already lax federal oversight of genetically engineered crops. Congress is working on the monumental process of altering and renewing the Farm Bill, S. 3240. This process only comes along every five years and has major impacts on how we grow our food. The last Farm Bill was passed in 2008, and expires in 2012. The bill is expected to be introduced on Senate floor on Tuesday, June 19. North Carolina Democratic Senator Kay Hagan and Idaho Republican Senator Mike Crapo have introduced an amendment (amendment 2367, full text available in the Congressional Record) to the Farm Bill that states pesticides should be allowed into water bodies without any oversight, leaving the public to swim, fish and boat on waters that are contaminated with endocrine disruptors, […]

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Hawaii’s Oversight of Pesticides Permits Scrutinized for Undue Industry Influence

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2012) As Hawaii officials finalize new rules for the regulation of pesticide discharge into waterways due to the federal court ruling requiring permits for pesticide discharges, critics say the state’s draft rules are not strict enough and that stakeholders, such as the farming lobby, may have had undue influence in crafting the new permitting requirements. Now that federal rules have been finalized to require National Pollutant Discharge and Elimination System (NPDES) permits under the Clean Water Act for pesticide discharges near waterways, as a result of a 2009 federal court order instructing EPA to require permits for pesticide discharges (see Daily News coverage), many states are rolling out their own rules to regulate these discharges. In Hawaii, a meeting called by state officials on Monday to hear public input was largely a battle between pro-pesticide interests, including Alexander & Baldwin, which sprays pesticides in irrigation ditches to control weeds, and state land officials, who use chemicals to kill invasive species, as well as Monsanto, that pushed to ease the rules, and environmental groups seeking to make them more stringent. Dean Okimoto, head of the Hawaii Farm Bureau, said that the rules would increase costs for farmers […]

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Report Puts Potomac River as “Most Endangered,” Highlights Why Clean Water Protections Critical

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, May 16, 2012) With Congress considering drastic cuts to national clean water protections, and rivers nationwide facing threats from natural gas drilling, chemical pollution, and new dams, American Rivers yesterday released its annual list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers. ® It names the Potomac River, known as ”˜the nation’s river’ as it flows through the capital, the most endangered in the country. While the Potomac is cleaner than it used to be, the river is still threatened by urban and agricultural pollution —and it could get much worse if Congress rolls back critical clean water safeguards. As the country commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act this year, the Potomac is emblematic of what is at stake for rivers nationwide. American Rivers launched a national call to action, giving citizens the opportunity to contact members of Congress and speak up for clean water. The report, “America’s Most Endangered Rivers,” notes that urban development is funneling tons of polluted rainwater to the river, that chemical fertilizer and manure from farms make matters worse, and that wastewater overflowing from sewers, along with pharmaceuticals flushed down toilets, contribute to dead zones in which marine life dies and might cause […]

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EPA Publishes Human Health Benchmarks for Pesticides in Water

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, April 18, 2012) In the face of widespread pesticide contamination of U.S. waterways and the lack of drinking water standards for hundreds of pesticides, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced new health and environmental benchmarks for acute pesticide effects, postponing action on chronic effects to an unspecified future date. While a step forward in identifying hazards associated with pesticide use and exposure, benchmarks have been notoriously limited in fully assessing risks because of ongoing deficiencies in analyzing the complexities associated with chemical exposure, specifically a failure to evaluate the effects of chemical mixtures, synergistic effects, and health effects associated with consistent low-dose exposure. EPA notes in a newly released April 2012 factsheet, “Human Health Benchmarks for Pesticides,” that, “EPA has developed a table of human health benchmarks for approximately 350 pesticides that are currently registered for use on food crops. The benchmarks are for pesticides for which the agency has not previously issued a drinking water health advisory or set an enforceable federal drinking water standard. These benchmarks for pesticides will enable states, water systems and the public to better determine whether the detection of a pesticide in drinking water or source waters for drinking water […]

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California Proposes to Ease Permit Restrictions For Mosquito Spraying

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, February 15, 2012) California mosquito control agencies are charging that new NPDES permitting regulations would eliminate West Nile virus fogging and jeopardize public health. In response, the state of California has proposed to scale-back pesticide regulations, easing rules on fumigating adult mosquitoes. This is in spite of the high risk for further degradation of already contaminated surface waters in the state, and contrary to the stipulations and protections set out in the Clean Water Act. The current federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, which recently went into effect after much resistance from the pesticide and agriculture industry and intensive lobbying efforts in Congress, does not authorize the discharge of biological and residual pesticides or their degradation by-products to waters of the U.S. that are impaired by the same pesticide active ingredients or any pesticide in the same chemical family. ”˜Impaired waters’ are polluted waters, i.e. those waters not meeting water quality standards pursuant to section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The NPDES permit is authorized under the CWA to require pesticide applicators to apply for permits before applying pesticides on or near surface waters. This process involves keeping records of pesticides used and monitoring […]

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ACT NOW: Senators Write Letter Seeking Consideration of Misguided Bill

Friday, December 16th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, December 16, 2011) A group of U.S. Senators has drafted and sent a letter to the offices of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in an attempt to convince them to set aside time in the Senate schedule for consideration of the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011, H.R. 872. ACTION IS NEEDED to show Senators Reid and McConnell that the public does not want this bill and that pesticides should not be exempted from critical safety and environmental protections. Consideration of this bill would take valuable time out of the Senate’s schedule to debate a bill that would weaken important policies that protect human health and the natural environment. The letter, dated December 8th, aims to communicate a sense of bipartisan agreement that the issue should move forward. It was drafted by Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Kay Hagan (D-NC) and was signed by 13 other Republicans and 10 other Democrats. However, despite this apparent bipartisan support, many Senators have expressed serious concern regarding the effects that would result from passage of the bill. Your help is needed. Please call the offices of Senator Reid and Senator McConnell today and tell […]

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Take Action – Senate Threatens Clean Water with Pesticide Amendment

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, November 17, 2011) Updated 1:00 p.m. – Thanks to everyone for taking action and putting pressure on your Senators. Senator Roberts filed an amendment yesterday to the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill opposing provisions to gut pesticide protections from the Clean Water Act. It is the same language we opposed this summer. He has tried to slip it into other bills as well. It’s important that we continue to put pressure on legislators to oppose the amendment offered by Senator Roberts and to support stronger pesticide restrictions around water. PLEASE CALL YOUR SENATORS(Senate directory) with the following message: “We urge you to oppose Senator Roberts’ amendment to the Energy and Water appropriations bill. Previously introduced as S. 718, the amendment would prevent the EPA from protecting our waterways from pesticide discharges. This bill will strip EPA’s ability to protect our waters from pollution by amending the Clean Water Act (CWA) and federal pesticide law to exempt applications of pesticides to waterways from CWA standards. There is already widespread contamination of our waterways by toxic pesticides, and we cannot rely solely on our weak pesticide law to protect those waters. This amendment is bad for public health and bad […]

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Senate Negotiations Break Down, Clean Water Act Pesticide Permits Take Effect

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2011) With negotiations to delay the court-ordered Clean Water Act (CWA) permits for pesticide applications breaking down in the U.S. Senate, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Pesticides General Permit (PGP) will take effect today. The PGP, a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit, covers most pesticide applications to water, including mosquito and other flying insect pest control, aquatic weed and algae control, aquatic nuisance animal control, and forest canopy pest control. Legislation to eliminate the permit requirement, the so-called Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act (HR 872), passed the U.S. House in April 2011. Similar legislation was introduced by Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) in the Senate and passed through the Senate Agriculture Committee under the leadership of Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), but a hold was put on the bill by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Ben Cardin (D-MD). According to Environment and Energy (E&E) Daily, the four Senators’ staff have been working on a compromise, but negotiations have reportedly broken down. E&E Daily reports that last week, the two sides appeared to be close to a deal. In exchange for a two-year moratorium on the new permit requirement, a national survey would be conducted on pesticide […]

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Dirty Water Bill Offered as Amendment in Senate, Act Now

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, October 11, 2011) U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) has offered an amendment to a currency bill in the Senate this week which would strip protections against pesticide contamination from the Clean Water Act (CWA). The language of the amendment is the exact same language as H.R. 872, which is currently working its way through the Senate and which environmental and public health advocates have been fighting against for much of the past year. Urgent action is needed to stop the amendment from successfully being attached to the larger bill, S. 1619. Click here to send an email to your Senators urging them to stand with you in opposing the Roberts amendment, Amendment 720, and ensuring our waterways are kept safe from pesticide contamination. Attaching the bill as an amendment to an entirely unrelated bill represents an attempt to slip the language in unnoticed and get it through without a fight. The language in the amendment, which has already passed through the U.S. House of Representatives as H.R. 872, and was voted out of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry as the stand alone bill S. 718 in June, but had since stalled in the Senate, would […]

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House Guts Environmental Programs, Restricts Clean Water Protections

Friday, July 29th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29, 2011) With the nation’s attention diverted by the drama over the debt ceiling, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are loading up an appropriations bill with over 70 amendments (riders) to significantly curtail environmental regulation in the 2012 Department of the Interior and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) spending bill (H.R. 2584), in one of the most extreme attacks on the environment and public health in modern history. The debate began on Tuesday for this House spending bill, which determines the funding for the Department of Interior, EPA, Forest Service, and other environment-related federal agencies. Among restrictions is one that would restrict EPA’s ability to act in several key areas, including pesticide suspensions and cancellations related to endangered species protections, pesticide product brand names, and Clean Water Act (CWA) permits for pesticide use on or near water. It includes language that would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the CWA to exempt FIFRA-compliant pesticides from requiring a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit under the CWA. The appropriations includes bill language that is essentially the same as that contained in stand-alone legislation (H.R. 872) approved by the House and […]

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Agency Seeks Comments on Biological Opinion of its Proposed General Permit

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, July 14, 2011) In its draft Biological Opinion, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) finds that the issuance of the proposed Pesticides General Permit by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of endangered and threatened species and cause the destruction or modification of critical habitat of the species without the implementation of a reasonable and prudent alternative (RPA). The agency is seeking public comment on the implementation of the proposed RPA and possible alternatives that would avoid the likelihood of jeopardizing the threatened or endangered species. Comments will be accepted until July 25, 2011. Essentially, the proposed Pesticides General Permit grants blanket approval to all pesticide applicators operating near waterways by issuing a single permit which would apply to all such potential applications, and largely removes the opportunity for environmental oversight of specific applications. The findings in this Biological Opinion are particularly relevant in light of current efforts by Congress to strip protections from the Clean Water Act (CWA) by prohibiting discharge permits for pesticides in waterways. Under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), federal agencies have an obligation to insure, in consultation with NMFS and the U.S. Fish […]

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Bill That Strips Water Protections from Pesticides Advances in Senate, Act Now

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, June 23, 2011) The Senate Agriculture Committee has passed legislation that would allow pesticides to be sprayed into water without a Clean Water Act (CWA) on Tuesday, June 21, and urgent action is needed to stop the bill from passing in the full Senate. The bill, Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011 (H.R. 872) amends the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the CWA, reversing a 2009 court order requiring the permits as a part of the National Pollutant Discharge System (NPDES). The U.S. House of Representatives already passed H.R. 827 by a vote of 292-130 back in April. Beyond Pesticides encourages individuals and organizations email and call their Senators that regulating pesticides under the CWA is necessary to protect our waterways, public health, fish, and wildlife, and therefore, they must oppose H.R. 872. Out of eight committee members who voted, the only ones to oppose the bill were Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who was not present at the markup, but issued a recorded vote. Without press or notice, the bill was marked up private business meetings, and is being heralded by the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), which states that “The […]

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Senate Considers Eliminating CWA Protections from Pesticides, Act Now

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, May 25, 2011) Legislation, already passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, that would allow pesticides to be sprayed into water without a Clean Water Act (CWA) permit, is now being weighed by the U.S. Senate (S. 718). The Western Farm Press recently reported that Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is holding up the bill while she discusses it with EPA and USDA. But, the bill is expected to move quickly and the time to act is now. Beyond Pesticides encourages individuals and organizations tell their Senators that regulating pesticides under the CWA is necessary to protect our waterways, public health, fish, and wildlife, and therefore, they must oppose S. 718. Michigan residents: Please call Senator Stabenow, thank her for delaying the legislation and ask her to oppose S. 718. Please call both your district office and Washington, DC. Upper Peninsula Office: (906) 228-8756 Northern Michigan Office: (231) 929-1031 Flint/Saginaw Bay Office: (810) 720-4172 Southeast Michigan Office: (313) 961-4330 Mid-Michigan Office: (517) 203-1760 Western Michigan Office: (616) 975-0052 Washington, DC Office: (202) 224-4822 All other U.S. residents: Please call your U.S. Senators and tell them to oppose S. 718. If you know your […]

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Take Action: Oppose Senate Bill to Strip Clean Water Act Protections from Pesticides

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, April 12, 2011) Ask your Senators to stand with you in opposing S. 718, the pesticide industry’s latest move in their assault on the Clean Water Act (CWA). Like HR 872 that recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate bill would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the CWA to eliminate provisions requiring pesticide applicators to obtain a permit to allow pesticides or their residues to enter waterways. Take action now. S. 718 – the so-called “Bill to amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act to improve the use of certain registered pesticides,” would ensure that CWA permits are not required for the application of pesticides and amends the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by stating that no permit shall be required for the use of a pesticide that is registered under FIFRA. This bill would mean that pesticide applicators will be able to discharge pesticides into US waterways without any government oversight. Should this bill pass in the Senate it would mean final legislation can be signed by the President effectively making it law that EPA cannot uphold the CWA when it comes to protecting U.S. waters from […]

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Take Action: Efforts to Dismantle Clean Water Act Protections Continue in the Senate

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, April 6, 2011) In yet another move to dismantle Clean Water Act (CWA) regulations regarding pesticides, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry introduced legislation (S. 718) aimed to “eliminate a burdensome, costly and redundant permit requirement for applications of pesticides.” Last week a similar bill, H.R. 872, passed in the House which prevents the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from applying the protective CWA permit regulations to monitor pesticides applied to and near U.S. waters. However, EPA has moved forward and published its draft version of the final permit. Like HR 872, S. 718, “Bill to amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act to improve the use of certain registered pesticides,” would ensure that Clean Water Act permits are not required for the application of pesticides and amends the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by stating that no permit shall be required for the use of a pesticide that is registered under FIFRA. This bill would mean that pesticide applicators will be able to discharge pesticides into US waterways without any government oversight. Should this bill pass in the Senate it would mean final legislation […]

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Send a Letter to Your Representative After U.S. House Votes To Weaken Protection of Water Sources from Pesticides

Monday, April 4th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, April 04, 2011) After Friday’s vote (April 1, 2011) to weaken protections from pesticides in the Clean Water Act, send a message to your U.S. Representative today. See action steps, as easy as two clicks, at the end of this post. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act (H.R. 872) by a vote of 292-130. The bill, introduced by Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH), amended the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) to eliminate provisions requiring pesticide applicators to obtain a permit to allow pesticides or their residues to enter waterways. The bill effectively reversed a 2009 Sixth Circuit court decision which ruled that, under FIFRA and CWA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must require such permits. Sponsors of the bill said that the clean water requirements are “duplicative regulations” which would “unnecessarily burden” farmers and small businesses. However, the potentially high cost of public health problems, environmental clean-up efforts, and irreversible ecological damage that could result in the removal of this permitting process has not been considered. The reality is that this permitting process forces the pesticide users to seek alternative approaches to pest management if […]

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Take Action! Congress To Weaken Clean Water Act

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, March 17, 2011) Urgent action is needed to stop the bill, Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011 (H.R. 872), from weakening protections under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved the bi-partisan bill yesterday, which amends the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the CWA to eliminate provisions requiring pesticide applicators to obtain a permit to allow pesticides or their residues to enter waterways. This bill has also been approved unanimously by the House Committee on Agriculture and will reverse a 2009 court order requiring the permits as a part of the National Pollutant Discharge System (NPDES) if it lands on the President’s desk by April 9, 2011. Take Action Now. The 2009 Sixth Circuit court decision, in response to the National Cotton Council v. EPA, overturned the Bush Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule exempting commercial pesticide applications from the oversight provided under CWA. The decision requires NPDES permits for pesticide applications directly to or near waterways in order to reduce and eventually eliminate pollutants in the natural environment. Sponsors of the bill say that the clean water requirements are “duplicative regulations” which would “unnecessarily burden” farmers […]

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