U.S. House Passes NPDES Fix Bill
On May 24, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 897 under regular order by a vote of 258 supporting to 156 opposing. The bill, formerly known as the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2015, was recently renamed the Zika Vector Control Act.
Here is the roll call vote for H.R. 897.
H.R. 897 clarifies Congressional intent regarding regulation of the use of pesticides for control of exotic diseases such as Zika virus and West Nile virus, as well as for other lawful pesticide uses in or near navigable waters. Specifically, this legislation amends the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or a state from requiring a permit under the Clean Water Act for a discharge from a point source into navigable waters of a pesticide authorized for sale, distribution, or use under FIFRA, or a residue resulting from the application of the pesticide. Point source pollution is waste discharged from a distinct place, such as a pipe, channel, or tunnel.
H.R. 897 was introduced on February 11, 2015 by Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH), and was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and in addition to the Committee on Agriculture. The Committee on Agriculture ordered the bill reported, by voice vote, on March 19, 2015.
On National Golf Day on May 18, the GCSAA delegation along with the other golf allied association representatives talked to Members of Congress and their staff about the slew of environmental regulations impacting golf facilities across the country. Specifically, GCSAA pushed for passage of H.R. 897. GCSAA and its members would like Congress to clarify that federal law does not require this redundant permit for already regulated pesticide applications.
Golf course superintendents are some of the nation's leading practitioners of integrated pest management, a philosophy that reduces the potential environmental risks of pesticide usage. However, pesticide users are now subject to a court-imposed requirement that creates additional burdens on their aquatic pesticide applications on, over, or near “waters of the U.S.” Such applications were already effectively regulated under FIFRA, but they must now receive additional, and unnecessary, permits under the CWA that do not provide additional environmental protection. FIFRA already regulates pesticides use to protect the safety of all who either use it or are exposed to it from “unreasonable adverse effects” – including from applications on, over, or near WOTUS.
GCSAA will continue to push for passage of the NPDES fix legislation as the bill moves to the Senate.