A federal appeals court on Monday, March 28, 2011 gave federal and state water regulators more time to comply with a 2009 mandate requiring Clean Water Act (CWA) permits for pesticide discharges into U.S. waters.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati granted the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) request that the deadline for implementing the court’s ruling in National Cotton Council v. EPA be extended from April 9, 2011 to Oct. 31, 2011.

“Extending the compliance deadline does not fix this problem,” Don Parrish, American Farm Bureau Federation Senior Director of Regulatory Relations.  “Requiring permits isn’t the solution either.”

The extension was announced three days before the House of Representatives passed legislation by a bipartisan vote of 292-130 that would prohibit additional regulation of federally-approved pesticides. The bill passed with 235 Republican and 57 Democrat “yes” votes.

“The extension is a diversion from the need to fix this problem,” Parrish continued.  “The court had to extend the implementation deadline, but if this issue isn’t fixed then the underlying liability of citizen suits, which will directly impact farmers and ranchers, will still be hanging out there.”

“Neither the permit nor the extension fixes that,” He concluded.  “H.R. 872 fixes the problem.”

“The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased that the House has approved H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman said.  “We commend the broad bipartisan coalition of lawmakers who produced this important victory. H.R. 872 provides a permanent, sensible solution to the regulatory overkill of requiring farmers, ranchers and others who use pesticides to apply for duplicative permits.”

“Pesticide applications are effectively regulated under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide Rodenticide Act, which requires Environmental Protection Agency-approved label restrictions to protect the environment,” Stallman continued.  “Opponents attempted to derail this bill with last-minute charges that it would weaken the Clean Water Act and diminish the authority of the EPA but they did not prevail.”

“We urge the Senate to swiftly approve this bill,” He concluded.