As of Nov. 1, Clean Water Act (CWA) permits are required for certain pesticide applications. These new permits are the result of a 2009 Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that vacated an EPA rule exempting pesticides from such permitting.

In March 2011, HR 872 was introduced in the House. That bill would amend both the CWA and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act to overturn the Sixth Circuit decision. The bill passed the House with a strong vote, 292-134, under an expedited process known as the suspension of the rules. It also passed the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee on voice vote.

Sens. Boxer, D-Calif., and Cardin, D-Md., have put a hold on the bill, preventing any further congressional action. Sen. Crapo, R-Idaho, currently is circulating a Dear Colleague letter asking the Senate leadership to allow the bill to go to a vote. Agricultural groups have been urging Democratic senators to sign the letter with the goal of obtaining 60-plus signatories.