Farm Bill Update: McCaskill To Eliminate Redundant EPA Regulation

Days after introducing an amendment to require input from farmers and ranchers in crafting environmental rules, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill moved to amend the Farm Bill to eliminate a redundant Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation that would force thousands of Missouri farmers and ranchers to apply for permits in order to use already-approved pesticides on their own land.

Currently, all pesticides must undergo more than 100 different tests, as well as registration by the EPA  before being certified as having no “adverse effects on the environment.” In 2009, a federal court issued a decision requiring individuals who were working in or near water to acquire yet another permit in order to continue operations. This new requirement went into effect in October of last year.

“There’s no reason to force Missouri’s farmers and ranchers to get permits to use pesticides that are already approved for safe use,” McCaskill said. “This is exactly the kind of duplicative EPA regulation that drives folks up the wall, and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure it’s not hurting jobs and business in Missouri agriculture.”

Without the measure, which McCaskill is supporting along with Senators Mike Crapo (R-WY) and Kay Hagan (D-NC), the EPA has estimated that an additional 365,000 pesticide users, including farmers, ranchers, cities, counties, and forest managers, will be required to obtain permits.

The bipartisan amendment will clarify that Clean Water Act permits are not required for the use of already approved pesticides, as well as require the EPA to perform a study on whether and how current processes can be improved to better protect the environment.

The Farm Bill currently being debated in the Senate would protect agriculture jobs and reduce the national deficit by $23 billion by streamlining and consolidating federal programs and ending unnecessary farm subsidies, while preserving important resources for farm and ranch families and strengthening the crop insurance program – issues which are critical to the livelihoods of Missouri’s farmers and ranchers.

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