Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack wrote EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson earlier in the month expressing his deep concern about the effects a recent Sixth Circuit Court ruling could have on American agriculture’s ability to respond to crop threats.
The Sixth Circuit Court effectively determined that a pesticide or herbicide application is a point source of pollution requiring the producer to obtain additional permits even if the chemical is being applied in compliance with label requirements.
“The court’s adverse decision will have profound implications for American farmers…The permit requirement could reach almost any pesticide application, requiring farmers to navigate a permitting system that is ill-suited to the demands of agricultural production. Failure to obtain a timely permit for pesticide application could cripple American farmers’ emergency pest management efforts and hamper their ability to respond quickly to new pest infestations or threats of infestations, thus increasing the risk of crop losses…
“The Sixth Circuit’s decision encumbers the American farmers’ and [USDA’s] ability to do business, while reaping little or no environmental benefit in exchange…”
Vilsack urged Jackson to take these needs into account as EPA considers seeking further review of the underlying case, National Cotton Council v. EPA. NAWG and others in the agricultural community are requesting a rehearing of the case by the full Circuit Court of Appeals; those requests are due April 9.
For more background information on this case, please visit www.wheatworld.org/issues/environmentalissues.