Congressman Gibbs’ Bill H.R. 935, The “Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act” Passes Unanimously Out of Committee

March 13, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON D.C.— In this morning’s markup, Congressman Gibbs’ bill H.R. 935, the “Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act” of 2013 was favorably reported out of the House Agriculture Committee with unanimous support. Below are Congressman Gibbs remarks:

“I introduced H.R. 935 to clarify Congressional intent regarding how the use of pesticides in or near waters should be regulated. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (also known as “FIFRA”) has long been the Federal regulatory statute that governs the sale and use of pesticides in the United States, not the Clean Water Act. In fact, FIFRA has regulated pesticide use long before the enactment of the Clean Water Act. However, more recently, as the result of a number of lawsuits, the Clean Water Act has been added as a new and redundant layer of Federal regulation over the use of pesticides.

“H.R. 935 is aimed at reversing a decision of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in National Cotton Council versus EPA, which imposed Clean Water Act permitting on pesticide use. That case vacated a 2006 Environmental Protection Agency rule that codified EPA’s long-standing interpretation that the application of a pesticide for its intended purpose and in compliance with the requirements of FIFRA is not a discharge of a “pollutant” under the Clean Water Act, and therefore, a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit is not required.

“As a result of that court decision, EPA has been required to develop and impose a new and expanded NPDES permitting process under the Clean Water Act to cover pesticide use. EPA has estimated that approximately 365,000 pesticide users, including state agencies, cities, counties, mosquito control districts, water districts, pesticide applicators, farmers, ranchers, forest managers, scientists, and even every day citizens, that perform some 5.6 million pesticide applications annually that play an important role in protecting the nation’s food supply, public health, natural resources, and infrastructure, would be affected by the Court’s ruling. This virtually doubles the number of entities subject to NPDES permitting.

“Federal and State agencies are expending vital funds to initiate and maintain Clean Water Act permitting programs governing pesticide applications and a wide range of public and private pesticide users are now facing increased financial and administrative burdens in order to comply with the new permitting process. 

“Last Congress, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act –then H.R. 872, passed the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee by voice vote and then passed the House under suspension with a bipartisan vote of 292-130. In the 113th Congress, it was reintroduced as H.R.935 and strong bipartisan support was again demonstrated by the bill’s passage out of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Unfortunately, during Farm bill conference, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act was not included in the final version because of the Senate after being included in the House-passed version.

“I urge all Members to support H.R. 935 because removal of this duplicative regulation will reestablish immediate access to the optimal pesticide needed to protect the nation’s agricultural production, natural resources, and public health.”