Legislative fix for NPDES permits for pesticides introduced in U.S. House

GCSAA member comments requested

Use GCSAA's automated online action alert to write your U.S. Representative today!


GCSAA is urging members to take action and push for passage of recently introduced legislation (H.R. 872) to amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to clarify that additional Clean Water Act (CWA) permits are not required for pesticide applications made in accordance with FIFRA. Encourage your Representative to re-establish the legal primacy of FIFRA over all pesticide uses, as well as inform the EPA and the courts that Congress did not intend other environmental laws to overtake FIFRA by creating duplicative regulatory burdens.


In 2009, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the EPA’s 2006 rule exempting aquatic pesticide applications from CWA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting. EPA is now forced to develop an NPDES permitting system for pesticide applications in, over or near "waters of the U.S." This one decision nearly doubles the population of entities required to be permitted under the CWA. Starting April 9, 2011, superintendents may be required to meet numerous new planning, performance, recordkeeping and reporting requirements in CWA NPDES permits in addition to meeting the requirements under specific product labels.


The EPA and states must begin implementing and enforcing the permit program on April 9, 2011 unless the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals grants an extension from the EPA to push back this date to October 31, 2011. This permit will preempt the science-based review of pesticides and label requirements for uses regulated under FIFRA. Never in the 62 years of FIFRA or 38 years of the CWA has the federal government required a permit to apply pesticides in, over or near "waters of the U.S." for control of such pests as mosquitoes, forest canopy insects, algae, or invasive aquatic weeds and animals, like Zebra mussel. As a matter of fact, Congress omitted pesticides in 1972 when it enacted the CWA, and despite major rewrites since, has never looked beyond FIFRA for the regulation of pesticides.


For help taking action, contact Chava McKeel, senior manager of information and public policy, at 800-472-7878, ext. 3619. For additional background on the issue, review the Inside Your Water column from the May 2010 issue of Golf Course Management magazine and GCSAA's official NPDES comments to EPA on their draft pesticide general permit.