It’s likely that the downstream impact of chemicals is not the first thing on a farmer’s mind while battling dangerous pests. But the fact remains that chemicals applied on land do work their way into our nation’s waterways.
The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture approved two bills including one that would simplify the approval and application of pesticides. The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2017 (H.R. 953), which has been introduced four times in previous Congresses, easily passed with only one Democrat voting against. The bill would reinstate an exemption for farmers who use certain pesticides near waterways by preventing states from requiring permits. Proponents say the bill would fix a costly redundancy where permits would already have to be in compliance with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (P.L. 112-177) and the Clean Water Act (P.L. 107-303). Critics of the bill include environmental groups who disagree that the intent of the two regulating bodies is redundant. Proponents of the bill see a clear path to passage this Congress as one of the main critics of the bill in its former incarnations was former Senator Barbara Boxer (CA) who is no longer on the committee. Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate (S. 340).