Roberts Calls on Senate to Approve Bill to Protect Agriculture from Pesticide Rule

EPA to Enforce Rule March 1, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – With less than 24 hours remaining before the Environmental Protection Agency begins enforcing their controversial and duplicative pesticide permitting rule, Senator Roberts called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to call up and approve compromise legislation to prevent costly fall-out for public health officials and agriculture producers.

Roberts again urged the Senate to call up and pass the House approved, bipartisan H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011, with his amendment to provide a two year moratorium on the implementation of the rule. Republicans have no objections to the legislation. Democrats have blocked the compromise measure.

“While I would prefer the Senate approve the House passed bipartisan H.R. 872 to eliminate the extra paperwork and confusion surrounding pesticide permits, my amendment for a moratorium is a commonsense compromise that would offer protections to producers and others until a solution can be worked out,” Roberts said, “The majority is not only preventing a simple vote, but is also blocking a straightforward compromise. I remain committed to finding a permanent solution to protect American agriculture and public health departments.”

At issue is the January 2009, Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion in National Cotton Council v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, that requires pesticide applications to be permitted under the Clean Water Act. This National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit would be in addition to any label requirements or restrictions already placed on the use of a pesticide under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

This requirement is of particular concern for public health officials who are now faced with additional regulatory hurdles in their ability to control mosquitoes, and the spread of diseases like the West Nile virus. It is also a significant issue for agriculture.

Roberts’ compromise amendment for a moratorium is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Thune (R-ND) and John Hoeven (R-ND).

Sen. Roberts is ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

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