Organizations representing state agencies that regulate pesticides and water quality sent a letter in support of legislation to exempt pesticide uses from Clean Water Act permits. The letter was addressed to Sens. Stabenow and Roberts, chair and ranking member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, and to Sens. Boxer and Inhofe, chair and ranking member of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee.
The letter’s signatories were the Assoc. of American Pest Control Officials, the Assoc. of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators, the National Assoc. of State Departments of Agriculture, and the National Assoc. of State Foresters. These organizations represent state agencies with significant environmental and public health responsibilities.
In the letter, the organizations urged the Senate to support the bill that was passed in the House (H.R.872) in order “to avoid duplicative environmental permitting requirements for applications of pesticides for public health and agricultural purposes.” These groups stated that the new general permit for pesticide will result in a 60 percent increase in the size of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program over its current size.
State water quality agencies not only develop NPDES permits, but also ensure compliance through inspections, monitoring, data collection, reporting, compliance assistance, outreach and training. Because their budgets already are under significant strain, states will be forced to divert funds from other important water quality responsibilities in order to pay for additional employees and other expenses associated with this new unfunded mandate.
Additionally, the organizations argued that the NPDES permits are unnecessary and duplicative because the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and state laws already account for pesticide impacts on aquatic ecosystems.