The Senate is following up with a House bill to quash a 2009 court decision that requires pesticide sprayers to obtain water pollution permits.
Two senators have reintroduced a bill to nullify a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decision that struck down an EPA rule to exempt farmers, ranchers and public health officials from needing Clean Water Act permits when spraying chemicals near or over water bodies to control mosquitoes and other pests.
Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) unveiled the “Sensible Environmental Protection Act” () on Feb. 13, reviving a similar bill from the 114th Congress to do away with what backers call “duplicative” permitting for applicators. Farmers and public health officials are already required to comply with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) before spraying around water, opponents of the 2009 decision say. FIFRA requires that the Environmental Protection Agency consider risks to water pollution when registering pesticides.
The legislation “will restore the proper regulatory regime for the use of pesticides Congress intended and provide much needed regulatory relief for our farmers, irrigators, pest control authorities, forest managers and others,” Crapo said in a statement.
Co-sponsors include Republican Sens. John Barrasso (Wyo.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), John Boozman (Ark.), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Jim Inhofe (Okla.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Jim Risch (Idaho), Pat Roberts (Kan.) and John Thune (S.D.). Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) have also signed on to the legislation.