The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee announced plans to mark up H.R. 872 on June 21 or June 22. The bill, which would exempt pesticide applications from Clean Water Act NPDES permitting requirements, was passed on March 31 by the House 292-134 under an expedited process known as the suspension of the rules — in part due to NCC members’ concerted efforts.

If passed, H.R. 872 would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) and eliminate the court mandated requirement to obtain CWA permits to apply pesticides over, to, or near waters of the United States. 

H.R. 872 is bipartisan legislation that was introduced in the House by Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Gibbs, R-Ohio, Transportation Committee Member and Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Nutrition and Horticulture Schmidt, R-Ohio, and other House Members. The bill reverses a 2009 decision of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in National Cotton Council v. EPA. This court decision vacated a 2006 EPA rule and long-standing interpretation that the application of a pesticide for its intended purpose and in compliance with the requirements of the FIFRA does not also require a separate permit under the CWA.

More background is available on the NCC’s website at www.cotton.org/issues/2011/pestup.cfm.