Daily News Archives
Would Allow More Pesticide Poisoning of Water
The bill, the Pest Management and Fire Suppression Flexibility Act (H.R. 1749), amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (as amended in 1977, this law became popularly known as the Clean Water Act) to state that the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shall not require a permit under the national pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES), or require a state to mandate such a permit, for: (1) the proper use of a pesticide that is registered or otherwise approved for use under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA); and (2) the use by or in cooperation with the federal or state government of a fire retardant, chemical, or water for fire suppression, control, or prevention in accordance with relevant Federal guidelines; (3) silvicultural activities except for specified point source activities; and (4) the use of biological control organisms for the prevention, control, or eradication of plant pests or noxious weeds pursuant to specified provisions of the Plant Protection Act. The bill also redefines "point source" to exclude from the term those public health protection, pest management, and silvicultural activities excluded from NPDES permit requirements under this Act.
The chemical industry (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment - RISE) hailed the legislation, saying, “U.S. Representatives Butch Otter (R-ID) and Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) should be applauded. The Pest Management and Fire Suppression Flexibility Act (H.R. 1749) affirms that pesticide applicators do not need a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit (NPDES) to apply product directly to or over bodies of water.”
Beyond Pesticides, in collaboration with other environmental and public health groups, has sought to protect against the poisoning of the waterways with pesticides, by enforcing the NPDES program.
On October 10, 2003, Beyond Pesticides submitted comments to EPA, opposing the agency's own proposal to amend the permit setting process, explaining why the agency should adhere to the water permitting process, drawing the important distinctions between FIFRA and CWA. (See comments.) In 2004, EPA proposed changing pesticide product labels for mosquito use to allow deposition over waterways, without any analysis of health and environmental impact or assessment. (See Alert.)
has been involved in litigation seeking protection under the Clean
Water Act. Working with a number of groups in Maine, two major
blueberry growers and processors decided to stop aerially spraying their
fields when threatened with litigation. See Daily News archives, including
April 14, 2005
10, 2004. In July 2000, Beyond Pesticides joined with the No Spray
Coalition, Disabled in Action, NY Save Organic Standards, the National
Preparedness Network, and several individuals to file suit in a federal
court against the City of New York for violating federal and state environmental
statutes designed to protect public health and the environment with
the broadcast spraying of toxic pesticides in its West NIle virus spray
program. Since winning an appeal
in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the second circuit in December
2003, the plaintiffs are waiting for a ruling. The U.S. District Court
decision, which concurred with the government’s argument that
FIFRA trumped the Clean Water Act, was vacated.