Crapo, Risch, Hagan Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Eliminate Unnecessary EPA Regulation on Farmers

Idaho Senators working to curb unneeded and costly regulations

Washington, D.C. – Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, along with Kay Hagan (D-North Carolina), will introduce a bipartisan bill today to eliminate an unnecessary and costly Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation on pesticides. The Sensible Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) of 2013 is cosponsored by a bipartisan group of Senators, including: Carper (D-Delaware), Coons (D-Delaware), Heitkamp (D-North Dakota), Vitter (R-Louisiana), McCaskill (D-Missouri), and Inhofe (R-Oklahoma).

“Farmers and ranchers throughout Idaho’s rural communities are being buried by costly regulations that provide little benefit to their intended purposes,” Crapo said.  “A duplicative pesticide permitting system is a waste of tax payer dollars that the federal government does not have to spend, and more importantly, hinders Idahoans ability to do business.  Unneeded regulations only stifle an already struggling economy.  Congress must provide relief to our local communities in order to kick-start job growth and economic prosperity.” 

“No Idaho business should face duplicative federal permitting systems.  This legislation removes the redundancy that negatively impacts Idaho’s agriculture, local governments and others without taking away environmental protections,” said Risch.

“Agriculture is the largest industry in North Carolina, and I am committed to ensuring federal policies work for our farmers,” said Hagan. “This bill is not about whether pesticides should be regulated, but rather about eliminating a redundant regulation that provides little or no environmental or public health benefits, and imposes unnecessary burdens on our farmers, states and municipalities and other entities that use pesticides responsibly. I will continue working with my colleagues to eliminate redundant regulations that add unnecessary costs and create legal uncertainty during these difficult economic times.”

“Some people believe that we must choose between a cleaner environment and a stronger economy, but I couldn’t disagree more,” said Sen. Carper. “We can have robust environmental protections that don’t hamper the private sector’s ability to create jobs as long as we’re smart about implementing them efficiently and effectively. In everything I do, I know I can do better – and the same is true of some federal regulations, like those affecting hard-working farmers in Delaware and across the country. This bill will help ease the burden of duplicative regulations on our farmers by reforming the pesticide permitting process in a responsible way that protects our health without wasting taxpayer dollars or straining our agricultural producers.”

For nearly 40 years, the EPA has implemented a comprehensive regulatory scheme for pesticide applications under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). According to the EPA, a new pesticide must undergo over 100 different tests to characterize its potential risks to the environment and human and wildlife heath.  Unfortunately, a court decision forced EPA to begin requiring Clean Water Act permits for pesticides applied in, over, or near water. The new permitting system went into effect on November 1, 2011.

SEPA clarifies that Clean Water Act permits are not required for pesticide applications in or near water. The bill also asks EPA to report back to Congress on whether the FIFRA process can be improved to better protect human health and the environment from pesticide applications.

EPA has estimated an additional 365,000 pesticide users – including farmers, ranchers, state agencies, cities, counties, mosquito control districts, water districts, pesticide applicators, and forest managers that perform 5.6 million pesticide applications annually – will be required to obtain Clean Water Act permits. This is nearly double the number of entities previously subject to permitting requirements – forcing states and localities to spend time and precious resources to comply with this unnecessary regulation.

SEPA is supported by 150 farming and forestry groups and state regulators from across the country, including: the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, Agriculture Retailers Association, National Cotton Council, National Alliance of Forest Owners, United Fresh Produce Association and the National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants.