The bill is a reaction to a decision by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in the case National Cotton Council v. EPA. According to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, that decision vacated an EPA rule that said using pesticides in compliance with federal pesticide regulations means a permit is not required under the Clean Water Act.
Gibbs said last week that the court decision creates an excessive burden on pesticide users that his bill, also known as the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act, would eliminate.
"As a result of a court decision, EPA has been required to develop a new and expanded permitting process under the Clean Water Act to cover pesticide use," Gibbs said. "This bill prevents states and a wide range of public and private pesticide users from facing duplicative, unnecessary financial and administrative burdens in order to comply with the new permitting process,” said Gibbs.
Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio), who supports the bill, stressed the urgency of getting a bill through Congress as soon as possible in order to beat EPA's April 9 deadline.
"Unless we can get H.R. 872 on the president’s desk by April 9, this order will impose a burden on the EPA, state regulatory agencies, pesticide applicators, water resource boards, and mosquito control districts with a duplicative permitting process that provides no additional environmental or public health protection," she said.
The bill won significant support in last week's committee markup, in which it was approved on a 46-8 vote. Five Republicans and just three Democrats voted against it.