Two U.S. senators introduced legislation to eliminate a burdensome, costly, and redundant Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permit requirements for applications of pesticides.
Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) set the process in motion yesterday.
"This double layer of red tape is costly to the agriculture industry and consumers," Roberts says in a news release made available today through Johanns' office. "It also takes aim at public health departments by requiring permits on top of existing permits for pesticide use. This creates confusion and the potential for significant penalties. Our bill eliminates this redundant permit requirement while at the same time ensuring proper pesticide use through existing law."
Johanns said: "Not only is EPA pursuing regulations that are economically crippling, they are also pursuing regulations that are clearly duplicative. The agenda being pushed by this administration's EPA amounts to more red tape, more roadblocks and more needless headaches. President Obama has repeatedly promised to eliminate duplicative regulations, but actions speak louder than words. That's why we're acting on an economically and environmentally responsible solution to this government-made problem."
Since last year, the EPA enforced a permanent rule in response to the Sixth Circuit Court ruling requiring approximately 35,000 pesticide applicators to get permits to cover about 500,000 applications per year. The EPA estimates that the permit rule will cost states, local entities and pesticide applicators $50 million and require 1 million hours to implement annually. Under the Clean Water Act, unlawful discharges are subject to $37,500 per day in fines.
The requirement is a concern for public health officials, now restricted in their quest to control mosquitoes and the spread of diseases such as West Nile virus.