Applications May Require Waste Permits

A new decision by the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals could require custom applicators and growers who apply their own crop protection products to obtain a permit when applying on or near water. CropLife America, the Agricultural Retailers Association, and other industry groups have expressed concern that the Clean Water Act ruling may set an unfavorable precedent for the ag community.

On Jan. 7, a panel of judges with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals found EPA was incorrect in saying all pesticide applications were exempt from rules for discharging "pollutants" and therefore would not need permits under the agency’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). The court also rejected EPA’s argument that pesticide is discharged from a point source, but the residue does not exist until after the discharge is complete, so it should be treated as a nonpoint source pollutant.

The decision means that commercial pesticide applications to, over, and around waterways will now require NPDES permits, which mainly affects areas which grow rice or require mosquito control.

By vacating that EPA final rule, the court in essence sent EPA regulators back to the drawing board to reconsider Clean Water Act regulations. The Clean Water Act prohibits any pollutant from being discharged into navigable waters from a point source without an EPA permit.

Several agricultural groups, including CropLife America and the National Cotton Council of America, have petitioned the court to support that pesticide applications did not qualify as pollutant discharges. The petitioners have 45 days to file an appeal with the full Sixth Circuit court.

"We maintain that pesticides should not be classified as pollutants under the CWA, as they serve an intended beneficial purpose and are well regulated already by EPA’s Office of Pesticides," said Jay Vroom, CLA president and CEO. "Though we’re disappointed by other parts of the court’s conclusion, we are pleased that the panel acknowledged that EPA was correct in its determination that not all pesticides should be considered pollutants."

"There are legal questions raised by this decision which are left unanswered," Doug Nelson, CLA executive vice president and general counsel, said in a statement. While the court vacated the current final rules, it did not give the EPA direction on how new final rules should be written. "As a result, this ruling may require further review by this court en banc, a subsequent court decision or a legislative solution to insure American agriculture is not jeopardized."

Obtaining a standard NPDES permit is a lengthy task. Most states require a series of forms, including estimations of the amount of pollutants to be discharged, maps showing pollutant flow to streams, where those streams go, and which water users might be affected, and an annual fee of several hundred dollars. State permitting agencies have 180 days to review each permit application, and if accepted, have another 45-day public comment period before issuing the permit. Several states, however, have set precedent for simplifying the NPDES permit process by granting "general permits," which allows anyone meeting a set of criteria to apply under an already approved permit.

According to court documents, Washington State and California have a general permit process that applies to pesticide applicators.

(Sources: Agricultural Retailers Association, CropLife America, and KFGO.com)

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

EquipmentAGCO Announces Operator Of The Year Finalists
November 20, 2014
Four custom applicators have been selected by AGCO Application Equipment as finalists for 2014 Operator of the Year, an honor that recognizes them as being among the top professionals in their industry throughout North America. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Ag Acquires Colorado Aerial Application Outlet
November 17, 2014
Ft. Lupton, CO-based Reck Aviation — a full-service chemical application company providing aerial crop applications of fertilizers and crop protection products — will operate as part of Pinnacle's AgOne Application Services brand. Read More
Seed CareSeed Care Success Stories: Prible Ag Products And Valent
November 3, 2014
These two companies combined forces to help fight disease pressures in Northern Indiana and Ohio. Read More
InsecticidesValent U.S.A., MGK Form Marketing Agreement
October 24, 2014
Valent has formed an agreement with Minneapolis-based MGK to manage the marketing and sales of MGK’s crop protection line of insect control products within the U.S. beginning April 1, 2015. Read More

Trending Articles

HerbicidesAdjusting To The New Reality Of Weed Control
November 4, 2014
Even with new cropping systems being readied for market introductions, weed control will remain a challenge for many. Read More
StewardshipResponsibleAg Begins Auditor Training
October 31, 2014
ResponsibleAg auditor training is now underway at the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY. Read More
InsecticidesNew Research Study Shows The Value Of Neonics
October 29, 2014
The study evaluated seed treatment, soil and foliar uses of neonicotinoid insecticides in the U.S. and Canada. Read More
Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Offers New Support For Ferguson, Area Communities
October 8, 2014
Monsanto Co. has committed $1 million in new support for several collaborative efforts in Ferguson, MO, and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Found In Montana
October 3, 2014
USDA reports that one year after discovery of Monsanto's unapproved wheat in a single Oregon field disrupted U.S. wheat export sales, the GMO wheat has again been found in Montana. Read More

Latest News

soybean field
Crop InputsABM Patents Microbial R&D Technique
November 25, 2014
Focused Microbial Diversity (FMD) is a newly patented technique employed by Advanced Biological Marketing (ABM) to research and develop microbials that will be used in ABM products Read More
Crop InputsStorage Options Help Grain Growers Go To Market
November 24, 2014
While on-farm storage in a traditional upright storage bin is one possibility for storing grain, it may not be for everyone. Read More
Eric SfiligojGiving Thanks For Another Great Year
November 24, 2014
As Thanksgiving Day 2014 arrives, agriculture has plenty to be thankful for. Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Cost-Cutting Program To Affect 1,800 Jobs
November 24, 2014
The company's Accelerating Operational Leverage program will result in job reductions and relocations totaling around 1,800 across the company, the majority of which will occur in 2015. Read More
EquipmentAGCO Announces Operator Of The Year Finalists
November 20, 2014
Four custom applicators have been selected by AGCO Application Equipment as finalists for 2014 Operator of the Year, an honor that recognizes them as being among the top professionals in their industry throughout North America. Read More
MicronutrientsH.J. Baker Expands Tiger-Sul Business
November 20, 2014
H.J. Baker has created and filled two strategic positions in business development and sales within its Crop Performance Division. Read More
soybean field
FertilizerGeneral Mills Honors United Suppliers For Nitrogen Opti…
November 19, 2014
United Suppliers winning proposal detailed SUSTAIN, a consulting network that provides customized products and services for farmers using a needs-based system approach. Read More
EmployeesOhio AgriBusiness Association Awards $25,000 In Scholar…
November 19, 2014
Each year, the Ohio AgriBusiness Association Educational Trust scholarship program awards scholarship dollars to students enrolled in an agriculture-related field attending several state colleges. Read More
ManagementServi-Tech Names New CEO
November 17, 2014
Servi-Tech has named Greg Ruehle its new president and CEO. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Ag Acquires Colorado Aerial Application Outlet
November 17, 2014
Ft. Lupton, CO-based Reck Aviation — a full-service chemical application company providing aerial crop applications of fertilizers and crop protection products — will operate as part of Pinnacle's AgOne Application Services brand. Read More
Eric SfiligojMcDonald’s Message: Biotech Crops Scarier Than Cancer
November 17, 2014
Despite their potential health benefits, one of the world’s largest potato users will pass on a new biotech offering. Read More
MicronutrientsWinField Releases 2014 NutriSolutions Results
November 14, 2014
A number of significant regional and national crop deficiency trends emerged from the 2014 WinField NutriSolutions tissue sampling program. Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Opens Chinese Production Lines
November 14, 2014
The occasion was the official launch of the Tiger-Sul sulphur Bentonite production line of two much anticipated fertilizer products in China, T90CR sulphur fertilizer and TZinc micronutrient enhanced sulphur fertilizer. Read More
ManagementOhio Certified Crop Adviser Program Accepting Nominatio…
November 14, 2014
The award recognizes an individual who delivers exceptional customer service for farmer clients in nutrient management, soil and water management, integrated pest management and crop production in Ohio. Read More
HerbicidesSyngenta Announces Acuron Trial Plot Results
November 14, 2014
Acuron was tested at 167 trial locations across 35 states. Trials included 95 Syngenta locations, 54 university locations and 18 distributor locations. Read More
Crop InputsVerdesian Expands Sales Force
November 13, 2014
The new sales representatives will work with growers, retail partners and distributors to oversee technical training and product education. Read More
EquipmentAGCO Raises $100K For Wounded Warrior Project
November 13, 2014
AGCO Corp. partnered with local AGCO dealers across the U.S. and Canada to raise nearly $100,000 in support of wounded service veterans. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Announces Launch Of Enlist Duo Herbici…
November 12, 2014
It will be launched in conjunction with a stewarded introduction of Enlist corn, and seed production of Enlist soybeans in 2015. Read More