Bureaucratic Regulations Lead to Increased Presence of West Nile Virus Carrying Mosquitoes

September 18, 2012
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, has received numerous reports indicating that mosquito control programs have been severely impacted by reduced operations due to increased administrative costs and fears of litigation surrounding new court-mandated Clean Water Act (CWA) requirements.  

These reduced mosquito control operations have resulted in increased risk of vector-borne disease such as West Nile Virus.  National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) compliance costs are forcing programs to redirect control resources to comply with the regulatory requirements and in some states, preventive mosquito control strategies are being cut in order to redirect resources to administrative costs.  

“The fact that bureaucratic regulations are standing in the way of vital mosquito control programs in this country is truly absurd,” said Gibbs.  “When the impact of these repetitive regulations is an increase in the presence of mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus, it is clear that these pesticide permit regulations are extremely ineffective and detrimental.  

“The bottom line is that I have received multiple reports of delayed preventive spraying because of redundant permitting regulations, while cases of West Nile Virus have tripled since 2011,” Gibbs continued. “I introduced a bill in the House last year that would eliminate these costly and duplicative permitting requirements.  H.R. 872, the ‘Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011,’ passed the House by a supermajority vote of 292 to 130 with strong bipartisan support.  The bill eliminates regulatory burdens that do nothing to provide health or environmental benefits.  This commonsense legislation has been stuck in the Senate since spring of 2011, holding us back from righting the wrongs of the current regulatory burdens that are putting Americans’ health at risk.”

Reductions in mosquito control programs have resulted in the following documented impacts, according to the American Mosquito Control Association:

•    National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) compliance costs are forcing programs to redirect control resources to comply with the regulatory requirements.

•    Commercial applicators historically serving rural communities and small municipalities are increasingly opting to cancel their programs out of fear of increased liability under the CWA.

•    In some States, preventive mosquito control strategies such as comprehensive larviciding are being curtailed in order to redirect resources toward increased administrative and water monitoring costs.

•    Liability fears from adulticide applications are effectively pushing these control strategies farther down the control algorithm or eliminating them entirely.

•    Water monitoring costs now being levied on California mosquito control districts, if applied nationwide, would close many districts in other states.

•    Federal and State agencies are expending vital funds to initiate and maintain NPDES programs governing mosquito control applications.