The effective date for EPA to issue general permits for certain pesticide uses under the Clean Water Act is Oct. 31, 2011. Under a 2009 Sixth Circuit Court ruling, pesticide users – which include farmers, ranchers, forest managers, state agencies, city and county municipalities, mosquito control districts and water districts, among others, would have to obtain a duplicative permit under the Clean Water Act (CWA) for certain uses of pesticides which result in pesticide applications into, over, or near U.S. waters.

Agricultural groups, including the NCC, believe that pesticides applications already are highly regulated under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and that this permitting is a paperwork exercise that will provide no additional environmental protection.

In March of this year, the House passed a bipartisan bill, H.R. 872, which amends both the CWA and FIFRA to prevent such redundant regulatory burdens. Sens. Boxer, D-Calif., chair of the Environmental and Public Works Committee, and Cardin, D-Md., have put a hold on the bill.

Sens. Stabenow, D-Mich., and Roberts, R-Kan., of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Committee are insisting on a two-year moratorium on the permits; however, Sen. Boxer is pushing a broad study of pesticide impacts on waters, which has stalled the negotiations. Last minute efforts by agricultural groups are ongoing to restart discussions among the Senate committees.