Senate Ag leaders Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., have introduced legislation aimed at clarifying that additional permits are not required for pesticide application in accordance with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. According to Senator Lincoln subjecting farmers, foresters and ranchers to an additional layer of bureaucracy under the Clean Water Act was never the intent of Congress. Lincoln says the legislation is simple: if a producer complies with FIFRA no Clean Water Act permit will be required. She says this will - bring some legal and regulatory certainty to farmers, foresters and ranchers regarding recent EPA actions related to the Act.
Chambliss says the EPA has again overreached its authority causing serious consequences for the agriculture sector. He says this legislation would prevent the EPA from imposing an erroneous regulation that does absolutely nothing to further protect or enhance the environment.
The National Corn Growers Association and American Farm Bureau Federation are commending the Senators for introducing this legislation. Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman says the legislation will remedy the harmful effects of a court decision that puts farmers at risk of unnecessary and burdensome regulation. NCGA President Darrin Ihnen notes the new permitting program is scheduled to take effect in April 2011 and that it's imperative Congress takes action on the bill prior to that date. If Congress doesn't step up and take action and the flawed court ruling is left to stand, Stallman says it will have ramifications for farmers and ranchers around the country.
Stallman says farmers know the label on each chemical they use is the law of the land and that they must use chemicals properly. Having additional regulations and bureaucratic red tape will not improve food safety or the environment.