CropLife America (CLA) expressed concern about the potential impacts of new Clean Water Act (CWA) proposed regulations on crop protection product applications and agriculture. Proposed regulations were released on March 25 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). CLA is conducting its initial review of the regulations and intends to submit comments when the rulemaking is published in the Federal Register.
The "waters of the U.S." rulemaking intends to clarify protections under the CWA and includes definitions of "navigable" rivers, lakes, streams, coastal areas, wetlands and other water bodies. Proposed regulations released by EPA and the Corps may greatly expand these definitions to include additional bodies of water, and influence the jurisdictional reach of all programs of the CWA, creating additional unnecessary regulatory burdens for the agricultural community and applicators of pesticide products.
The rulemaking also impacts federal control over certain crop protection product applications near bodies of water and enforcement of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permits for pesticides.
"The jurisdictional reach of the Clean Water Act is the foundation of federal control over private property and business activity. The proposal could infringe upon the rights of states. CLA believes that states must be more closely consulted on the management of their waters," commented Jay Vroom, CLA's president and CEO. "It is also unfortunate and ironic that these proposed regulations, which threaten to unduly impact agriculture, were released on National Agriculture Day, an occasion to celebrate the great efforts of America's farmers and ranchers."
Vroom added that jurisdictional expansions under EPA's proposed rulemaking have the potential to trigger unnecessary expanded oversight of pesticide applications covered by NPDES permits.
He urged lawmakers to move forward on the passage of H.R. 935, The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2013, which would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the CWA to clarify Congressional intent and eliminate the requirement of NPDES permits for the use of pesticides approved for use under FIFRA. H.R. 935 was passed by the House Agriculture Committee by a voice vote this month, and by the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee earlier in the 113th Congress.
For more information on CLA's position on the CWA and its impacts on agriculture, visit http://www.croplifeamerica.org/pesticide-issues/pesticide-pollution.