Get Ready for New Pesticide Permits!


New pesticide permitting requirements are set to go into effect Tuesday after the Senate failed to take action Monday on the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act.  The legislation would have ensured that businesses are not subject to a duplicative pesticide permitting requirement for those applying pesticides near water. While an anticipated news release has not yet come out from the Environmental Protection Agency announcing the changes, Monday was the deadline for the EPA to implement the new pesticide permits. 

This from the National Association of Wheat Growers gives background on the permits:

“The problem was created by a January 2009 Sixth Circuit Court decision saying pesticide discharge is a point source of pollution subject to additional regulation under the Clean Water Act, necessitating National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for each application.

The decision has been stayed twice to allow time for government agencies to implement it. It is now set to go into effect at the end of the month, though federal and local governments remain unprepared for the mountain of paperwork it could cause.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated the ruling will affect approximately 365,000 pesticide applicators that perform 5.6 million pesticide applications annually.

When the new requirement goes into effect, farmers running afoul of it could be subject to fines of up to $37,500 per day.

Claims continue that farmers applying pesticides only on land will not need additional permits and, in fact, producers in that situation are not even eligible for a new general permit developed by EPA.

Still, recent legal decisions, including one by the Supreme Court, have muddied the definition of “waters of the United States” to the extent that it is unclear if common farm structures, like ditches, that only sometimes experience water would qualify or not.”

The U.S. House had passed the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act in June.  House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas says it was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who failed to take action, calling this “an example of the Senate at its worst.”

© Northern Ag Network 2011

Haylie Shipp


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