Congressman Frank D. Lucas Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Chairman Ranking Member
House Agriculture Committee House Agriculture Committee
1301 Longworth 1305 Longworth
Washington, D.C. 20515 Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Chairman Lucas and Ranking Member Peterson:
We respectfully request the inclusion of H.R. 872, The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act, or similar legislative language in the Farm Bill currently under consideration by the Committee.
As you know, the final rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the use of pesticides took effect October 31, 2011. It stands to have significant negative impacts on the agricultural, ranching, forestry, and pest control communities of our states.
The House of Representatives, with your leadership, has worked to address this issue. The Agriculture Committee held a public hearing on the proposed rule and reported H.R. 872 favorably by voice vote on March 9, 2011. Weeks later, the full House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 872 with broad bipartisan support. This measure is a reasonable solution to avoiding duplicative regulation while preserving decades of safe, effective pest control standards and oversight.
Stakeholders in the states share this belief, as four national associations representing state-level regulators attested in their endorsement of H.R. 872. The Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators, the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, and the National Association of State Foresters are in agreement that National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for legal pesticide applications would prove more costly and burdensome than beneficial.
To be clear, we support only safe and responsible chemical applications on and near our waters. The EPA itself has long held that existing standards under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) are sufficient for protecting public health and the environment. However, the EPA is being forced by a Sixth Circuit Court decision to require federal permits for pesticide applications directly on or over waters of the United States. This regulation covers an estimated 365,000 applicators -- a 60 percent increase in the NPDES program's current size.
The NPDES regime imposes a strain on already challenged state budgets. Some states have substantially reduced their mosquito control budgets in a constrained revenue environment. Resources typically dedicated to public health-related pest control activities will need to be diverted to comply with additional requirements for permitting, implementation, and enforcement.
We believe the costs of this court-ordered rule outweigh the benefits. The federal government should not impose new requirements or costs on states and citizens that are not justified by a clear need. We respectfully request the Agriculture Committee include this bipartisan solution, as part of the base Farm Bill reauthorization. We appreciate your continued attention to and work on this matter.