The Environmental Protection Agency has until Oct. 31 to complete the development of a pesticide permitting system for aquatic applications. The action stems from the ruling in the case National Cotton Council vs. EPA, which required EPA to create the new system.

However, legal wrangling has prevented the permitting system from moving forward. Last spring, the House voted 292-130 to bar EPA from implementing the new National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. Similar legislation is pending in the Senate.

However, two senators have prevented the system from moving forward. Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) have placed holds on the Senate version of H.R. 872, the House-passed Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011.

The hold can only be broken by 60 senators who would allow the legislation to proceed to a vote on the Senate floor. Multiple ag organizations say they have 68 senators indicating support for legislation barring implementation of the permits.

Beau Greenwood, executive vice president with CropLife America, told Delta Farm Press that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told the coalition that Majority Leader Harry Reid would not allow a vote on the legislation that would expose Boxer to a negative vote on her hold.

“Instead we were given the option of a two-year moratorium on implementation of the NPDES permitting system,” Greenwood told Delta Farm Press. “That moratorium would in no way preclude us from continuing to look for ways to move a more proper and responsible fix to the court’s ruling, and that’s where we stand today.”

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