The House of Representatives passed H.R. 872 this week, a bill that would prevent the US EPA from requiring NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permits of farmers spraying crop protection products on their fields.
H.R. 872 clarifies that NPDES permits are not required when applying pesticides according to their EPA approved label. For most of the past four decades, water quality concerns from pesticide applications were addressed within the registration process under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), rather than a Clean Water Act permitting program. H.R. 872 amends both the Clean Water Act and FIFRA in order to restore the previous regulatory framework.
In Illinois, NPDES permits are a lengthy and costly process to obtain, taking in excess of 30 days and sometimes up to six months or more. Due to the time constraints, all Illinois farmers would have to apply for the permit based only on the potential that they might spray a chemical on their field sometime throughout the growing season.
The Illinois EPA does not have the funding or the manpower to deal with the onslaught of requests that would ensue, thus making the process even longer and more burdensome than it is today.
In the end, requiring farmers to obtain an NPDES permit to spray chemicals on their fields that are already regulated by FIFRA is a costly and laborious process that doesn’t yield any additional benefit for the environment or human health. The passage of H.R. 872 is a huge hurdle to overcome on this issue.
Companion legislation has yet to be introduced in the Senate.
The following IL Congressmen voted “yes” to H.R. 872 and deserve your thanks. Please email your Congressman AND one or two Congressmen from the more urban areas to let them know how much you appreciate their support of Illinois farmers.
Downstate Congressman that voted “yes” to H.R. 872:
Congressman Hultgren (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Congressman Costello (email@example.com)
Congressman Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Congressman Kinzinger (email@example.com)
Congressman Manzullo (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Congressman Schilling (email@example.com)
Congressman Schock (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Congressman Shimkus (email@example.com)
Less-rural Congressman that voted “yes” to H.R. 872:
Congresswoman Biggert (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Congressman Davis (email@example.com)
Congressman Dold (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Congressman Roskam (email@example.com)
Congressman Walsh (firstname.lastname@example.org)
You might include one or more of the following statements in your note of thanks:
- Please convey my thanks to Congressman ___ for his “yes” vote on H.R. 872.
- I appreciate Congressman ___’s support of my family, my farm, and my business.
- I appreciate Congressman ___’s efforts to ensure that I can operate my family business without double regulation by the EPA.
- My farm contributes to the Illinois economy and is one of the few sectors experiencing growth within our state. Thanks for helping me prevent over-regulation of my farm.
- Congressman ___’s “yes” vote on H.R. 872 means that I can continue the good work I’ve been doing producing more with less without the burden of more paperwork, time, and money.