Issue Date: April 20, 2009
Justice Requests Stay For Pesticide Ruling
Rather than seek a rehearing of a court ruling requiring pesticide applicators to obtain a permit under the Clean Water Act (CWA) whenever pesticides are used in or near U.S. waters, the Department of Justice filed a motion on April 9 asking to delay the court’s mandate for two years. In its final rule, issued by the Bush Administration in 2006, EPA excluded pesticides that comply with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) from being considered pollutants under CWA because their effects on aquatic environments are already considered under FIFRA. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down EPA’s interpretation in January, ruling that pesticide residues and biological pesticides are pollutants under CWA. EPA estimates that the ruling will affect about 365,000 pesticide applicators and 5.6 million pesticide applications annually. The two-year stay is needed to give EPA and states time to develop the permits and educate the regulated community, DOJ claimed. If the court accepts the stay, no water permits will be required for pesticides for two years.
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