June 13, 2012
The Honorable Kay Hagan
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Hagan:
The National Cotton Council strongly supports your amendment #2367 to the 2012 farm bill, and we look forward to working with you to ensure its adoption.
Your amendment will reduce the regulatory burden on producers and reaffirm the primacy of the Federal Insecticide Rodenticide and Act in regulating pesticide applications, including those over and near bodies of water. The requirement for producers to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for certain pesticide applications, as mandated under National Cotton Council v. EPA, adds unnecessary, duplicative and costly requirements for farms already operating on the margins and who are already in compliance with FIFRA pesticide use restrictions.
Since the inception of the Clean Water act in 1972, water quality concerns from pesticide applications have been addressed during the registration and labeling process under FIFRA. Pesticides must undergo a minimum of 125 safety tests – including impacts to aquatic environments- before they receive a registration for use. Permitting under the CWA is duplicative regulation which will burden applicators with high costs and liability without providing additional environmental protection.
EPA estimates that NPDES permit requirements will affect approximately 365,000 pesticide applicators nationwide that perform 5.6 million applications annually. It is estimated to cost $50 million and require over one million hours per year to implement. Industry cost estimates are much higher. The complex compliance requirements associated with the permit will impose additional burdens on thousands of small businesses, communities, counties, and state and federal agencies legally responsible for pest control, and expose them to liability through citizen suit provisions in the CWA.
We strongly support your amendment #2367, and stand ready to assist in in pressing for its adoption on the Senate floor. Thank you for your leadership on this very important issue.
President and CEO
National Cotton Council