Anti-EPA House votes to let agribusiness dump pesticides in our water
Cross-posted from Wonk Room.
The Tea Party Congress doesn’t just hate EPA rules that protect against industry destroying our country with greenhouse-gas pollution, mercury, coal ash, and mountaintop removal. By a veto-proof margin, the U.S. House of Representatives voted yesterday to prohibit Clean Water Act limits on pesticide pollution of lakes, streams, and rivers.
Lobbyists for industrial agriculture polluters cheered the 292-130 vote for H.R. 872, which “will amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act to clarify Congressional intent and eliminate the requirement for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits for applications of pesticides approved for use under FIFRA.” The California agribusiness lobby Western Farmers Association praised the “practical, bipartisan example of eliminating government regulations that needlessly increase farm business costs“:
The measure would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from requiring farmers or companies to comply with the Clean Water Act when using pesticides on or near water sources. The bill’s supporters said pesticides are adequately regulated by other laws. The bill passed 292 to 130 on Thursday. The 130 negative votes came from Democrats. Fifty-seven Democrats joined 235 Republicans in supporting the bill, which has yet to see Senate action.
Clean Water rules against pesticide pollution are hardly “needless.” The waters that are home to fish and that feed our drinking water supply are being poisoned. Agribusiness uses hundreds of millions of pounds of FIFRA-approved pesticides like atrazine, metolachlor, cyanazine, alachlor, acetochlor, metribuzin, bentazon, and trifluralin a year. These pesticides, linked to cancer, birth defects, and neurological disorders, are found in nearly every single stream in the United States.
Following a 2006 USGS report on the nearly ubiquitous pesticide contamination of our streams, rivers, and the fish that live in them, the EPA under Bush tried to establish a loophole-ridden rule that was thrown out by the courts. The EPA was given until April 9, 2011 to establish new rules, but was granted a delay until Oct. 31 on Tuesday.