Washington, D.C. (June 21, 2011)—The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) today applauded the mark up and approval by the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee of legislation that would eliminate costly and duplicative pesticide permitting requirements set in motion by a misguided Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in National Cotton Council v. EPA.
The Committee voted to favorably report H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011, to the full Senate on a voice vote. The bill would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) to clarify congressional intent; it would eliminate CWA permitting requirements for crop protectants already regulated under FIFRA. The legislation passed the House of Representatives in late March on a bipartisan vote of 292-130.
“The leadership shown by Senate Agriculture Committee members today brings us an important step closer to relieving the tremendous costs, resource burdens, and regulatory uncertainty that have been caused by the Circuit Court’s ruling,” said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of NCFC. “I strongly urge the Senate to take up H.R. 872 on the floor in a timely manner and to ultimately pass this important legislation.”
“Congress purposely omitted pesticides in 1972 when it enacted the CWA NPDES program, and despite major rewrites since, never looked beyond FIFRA for the regulation of pesticides,” Conner continued. “Left unchanged, the permitting requirements will expose farmers and ranchers to legal jeopardy through citizen suits over paperwork violations.”
Since 1929, NCFC has been the voice of America’s farmer cooperatives. Our members are regional and national farmer cooperatives, which are in turn composed of nearly 3,000 local farmer cooperatives across the country. NCFC members also include 26 state and regional councils of cooperatives. Farmer cooperatives allow individual farmers the ability to own and lead organizations that are essential for continued competitiveness in both the domestic and international markets.
America’s farmer-owned cooperatives provide a comprehensive array of services for their members. These diverse organizations handle, process and market virtually every type of agricultural commodity. They also provide farmers with access to infrastructure necessary to manufacture, distribute and sell a variety of farm inputs. Additionally, they provide credit and related financial services, including export financing.