Senate Committee Votes to Remove Clean Water Protections

Senate Ag Committee votes to strip states and the EPA of their responsibility to protect nation’s waters from toxic pesticides

06-21-2011 // Mekell Mikell

Without a hearing or public discussion, the Senate Agriculture Committee today voted to strip states and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of their fundamental responsibility to protect our nation’s waters from toxic pesticides.

H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011, weakens the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act to prohibit state and federal authorities from requiring a permit for the discharge of pesticides in waterways.

River Otter

“This bill threatens public health and wildlife and sets a terrible precedent of opening tractor-sized loopholes in the Clean Water Act,” said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, “It’s just baffling that the Committee voted without public debate to exempt the worst poisons from the Clean Water Act at a time when they are causing such damage to our nation’s waterways.”

More than 1,000 waterways in the United States are impaired because of pesticide pollution, and these toxic chemicals are a threat to people and wildlife. Pesticides discharged in our nation’s rivers, lakes and streams can harm or kill fish and amphibians. These toxins also accumulate in the fish that we eat and contaminate our drinking water. By prohibiting the EPA or states from requiring a permit under the Clean Water Act's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) for the discharge of pesticides, this bill will create a dangerous vacuum in protecting wildlife, human health and natural systems.

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