WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today applauded the committee passage of a House-passed pesticides bill that will remove regulatory burdens on producers and public health agencies.
“I have urged Chairwoman Stabenow to take action on this legislation for some time now and I am pleased this legislation is finally moving forward,” said Roberts. “This bill will eliminate a double layer of red tape that ultimately costs producers and consumers. I stand ready to protect public health and reduce duplicative regulations by moving this bill to the Senate floor.”
Senate Agriculture Committee members passed H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011, out of their committee today during a business meeting, attended by committee members.
The bill passed the House of Representatives earlier this year and was then referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee on April 4. Roberts has been pushing for the bill to be addressed ever since.
Earlier this spring, he and other Republican members of the Agriculture Committee sent a letter signed by all Republican members of the committee to Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) calling on her to bring up and have the committee approve the House-passed bipartisan pesticide regulation bill, H.R. 872, as soon as possible. An October 31, 2011 deadline looms for compliance with the additional permit requirements or pesticide applicators may face penalties.
Roberts believes Congress must take action to eliminate this duplicative regulatory burden that resulted from a court decision. 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 restricted in their ability to control mosquitoes, and the spread of diseases like the West Nile virus. It is also a significant issue for agriculture.