The House Committee on Agriculture held a markup on the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011 (H.R. 872). The bill will amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) to exempt pesticides used according to the label from the need for CWA permits.

H.R. 872 is a response to a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling which vacated a 2006 EPA rule that exempted pesticides applied near, over, or into waters of the United States from National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits under the CWA if those pesticides were applied in accordance with the FIFRA label. The court’s broad ruling mandated, for the first time, that pesticide applications be permitted under the CWA.

The court granted a two-year stay of its mandate until April 9, 2011. EPA has not yet issued a final permit and recently asked the court for a further delay until Oct. 31, 2011.

Most members of the House Agriculture Committee are co-sponsors of the bill. No amendments were offered and the sections of the bill dealing with FIFRA were reported out unanimously by voice vote. The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has jurisdiction over the CWA and is planning a markup for next week.

The NCC issued an Action Alert to its directors, national interest organizations, producer and ginner interest organizations, and Environmental Task Force – encouraging them to contact Cotton Belt Representatives and urge them to co-sponsor, if they already have not, or support H.R. 872. Congressional contacts can be found on the NCC website, www.cotton.org.