Sens. Hagan (D-N.C.) and Crapo (R-Idaho) introduced the Restoring Effective Environmental Protection (REEP) Act (S. 3605). A bipartisan group of Senators co-sponsored the bill, including Sens. McCaskill (D-Mo.), Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Carper (D-Del.), Coons (D-Del.), Risch (R-Idaho), Landrieu (D-La.), Vitter (R-La.), Pryor (D-Ark.), and Conrad (D-N.D.).
S. 3605 includes identical language from H.R. 872, which clarifies that Clean Water Act (CWA) permits are not required for pesticide applications in, over, or near waters of the United States. In 2011, H.R. 872 was passed by the House with bipartisan support and approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee by voice vote. The REEP Act has an additional provision that asks EPA to report back to Congress on whether the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) process can be improved to better protect human health and the environment from pesticide applications.
Last October, EPA issued its general permit for pesticides. The 44 states with CWA authority use the EPA permit as guidance in developing their own state permits for pesticides applied to, over, or near waters of the United States. This permitting requirement is the result of a court ruling which invalidated a policy of EPA that pesticide use is exempt from CWA permitting if applied according to the FIFRA label.
The NCC and other agricultural organizations are strongly supporting both the REEP Act and H.R. 872.