Response from the agricultural community regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s release this week of a draft version of the permit farmers will be required to obtain to apply pesticides on crops under the Clean Water Act has been swift and negative.
Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) denounced the release of the draft permit and described it as “unfortunate” in a news release. “The result will be more expensive regulation and onerous permitting requirements for our producers that will provide no environmental gain,” he said.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, expressed disappointment with EPA’s decision in a statement. “By refusing to defend current law and its own reasonable regulations, EPA is unfortunately planning to place unnecessary, burdensome and duplicative permit requirements on producers, mosquito control districts and states. More regulation is not the key to economic recovery, especially when the regulation does absolutely nothing to further protect or enhance the environment.”
Tyler Wegmeyer, a regulatory specialist with the American Farm Bureau Federation, noted, “Farmers already have a set of regulations that they follow to apply pesticides.” Although producers do have the option of weighing in on the new regulations, the 45-day window for submitting comments comes during the busiest time of the year for many. AFBF is reviewing the draft permit regulations and will submit comments urging changes to ensure that the final version is the least burdensome and costly for farmers as possible.