Saturday, August 24, 2019

Redundant pesticide approvals would be eliminated under bipartisan McCaskill bill

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill | U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill

Farmers should not have to seek two separate and duplicative approvals for the use of standard pesticides on their crops, said U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, who introduced bipartisan legislation this week aimed at eliminating such redundant federal requirements.

The Sensible Environmental Protection Act, which McCaskill, D-Mo., introduced June 3 along with Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Ohio, would prohibit the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or a state from requiring a Clean Water Act permit for pesticide use near water if the pesticide is already authorized for sale, distribution or use under the federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

Don Parrish, senior director of congressional relations at the American Farm Bureau Federation, agrees.

“The permitting process is extensive,” he said. “To be forced to apply for something that’s already legalized for use is redundant.” He went on to explain that the permit process, for acquiring a permit for mosquito abatement spraying, for example, is so long that some farmers won’t even apply for them. “And that’s harmful for the crops and the environment,” he said.

Parrish said his organization hails McCaskill’s efforts. “We’re going to do everything we can to see this legislation passes Congress.”

In a written statement, McCaskill said, “We do need to protect human health and the environment, but when we can achieve that goal with one permitting program it makes no sense to require farmers go through another whole permitting regime to achieve the same goal. This bill is a commonsense step toward a more efficient and effective process while still providing all the protections needed.”

The bill has garnered the support of 13 senators from both sides of the aisle.

McCaskill backed a similar bill in the previous Congress and worked to address the issue in an amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill. McCaskill also recently introduced the Federal Permitting Improvement Act, a bipartisan and widely supported bill that would streamline and speed up the highly unpredictable and uncoordinated federal permitting process.

Organizations in this Story

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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