27 January 2005 20:46 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (CNI)--The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Thursday that no EPA permit is required under the Clean Water Act (CWA) when EPA-approved pesticides are used over, near or on federal waterways to control pests or weeds.
EPA said it issued today’s “interpretive statement and a proposed rule” on pesticide use under the CWA because several court decisions have caused confusion among state and local health officials on whether such CWA permits were required.
EPA said in a statement that confusion and concern among local government health officials had threatened to impede their operations in protecting human health by, for example, spraying pesticides over or near federal waterways to combat disease-bearing insects.
A 2001 federal appellate court ruling, among other cases, had held that an applicator of herbicides was required to obtain a use permit under CWA before using a herbicide that was approved under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
EPA said its interpretive statement and proposed rule of today “reflect EPA's long-standing policy that a CWA permit is not required where application of a particular pesticide to or over water is consistent with requirements under FIFRA. Any pesticide that is approved for use in the ?xml:namespace>
In other words, if a pesticide or herbicide approved by EPA is being used in compliance with FIFRA, no further usage permitting is required.
Benjamin Grumbles, assistant administrator for water at EPA, said: “Clarifying this issue is critical because confusion over permitting requirements could keep public health officials from preventing or responding to an infestation of mosquitoes or from controlling an invasive species,” such as aquatic weeds.
EPA noted, however, that “Applications of pesticides in violation of the relevant requirements under FIFRA would be subject to enforcement under any and all appropriate statutes including, but not limited to FIFRA and the CWA.”
The EPA’s interpretation and proposed rule implementing the interpretation are subject to public comment for 60 days.
The complete text of the EPA interpretation and proposed rule can be obtained on the Internet at http://www.epa.gov/npdes/agriculture#pesticides.
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