The Senate Agriculture Committee approved legislation aimed at exempting pesticide spraying from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Water Act (CWA) permit requirements.  The bill moved through the committee on a voice vote with Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., voicing opposition to the bill.

The legislation would eliminate CWA permit requirements for pesticide spraying over or near waters, since these applications are already regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.  The measure is in response to a decision in National Cotton Council, et al. v. EPA in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit that has required a CWA permit.  EPA is currently finalizing the permit.

The bill has already passed the House with a large, bipartisan majority and EPA is currently neutral on the issue.

USA Rice Federation thanks the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, led by Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Ranking Member Pat Roberts, R-Kan., for its support of this bill and moving it another step toward enactment.