On March 31, the House passed legislation - Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act (H.R. 872) that would prevent EPA from implementing a court order requiring applicators of pesticides to obtain Clean Water Act permits before they apply pesticides into, over, or near bodies of water. The requirement for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits was mandated January 7, 2009, by a federal appeals court decision that vacated an EPA rule authorizing permit exemptions for farmers, public health officials, and ranchers who apply pesticides into, over, or near water bodies to control mosquitoes and other pests. On March 28, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit granted EPA a six-month stay through October 31 for implementing the order (National Cotton Council v. EPA, , 6th Cir., No. 06-4630, motion for stay granted 3/28/11
The bill would exempt from the NPDES permitting process discharges to waters involving the application of a pesticide authorized for sale, distribution, or use under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act when the pesticide is used for its intended purpose and the use complies with pesticide labeling requirements. EPA had estimated the permit program would affect approximately 365,000 pesticide applicators who perform 5.6 million pesticide applications annually.