The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens

Senate urged to pass Reducing Regulatory Burdens bill


After the House passed a bill to make sure farmers do not have to file duplicate applications for pesticide permits, House farm leaders and farm groups are urging the Senate to take up the measure.

The bill, entitled the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011, passed Thursday on a bipartisan vote of 292-130. The bill was introduced after the Sixth Circuit Court ruled in the National Cotton Council v. EPA case that even though pesticide applications are regulated under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide Rodenticide Act, they could also be subject to the Clean Water Act.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., who mounted a major education effort in the House before the bill came up, and ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., both praised the House action.

“The last thing the agricultural community needs is another government mandate,” Lucas said. “This bill eliminates a costly and duplicative permitting requirement that is the result of a court’s fundamental ignorance of congressional intent. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to join our efforts so that we can get a bill to the president before more valuable resources are wasted.”

Peterson added, “The courts are not the place to decide agriculture policy and this bill makes clear that it was never the intent of Congress to burden producers with additional permit requirements that would have little to no environmental benefit. I urge the Senate to quickly follow suit and provide certainty to producers by passing this legislation.”

Farm organizations also urged Senate passage of the bill.

“With such a strong bipartisan show of support in the House, it is now critical that the Senate take action on similar legislation in a timely manner,” said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of the National Council for Farmer Cooperatives.

The American Farm Bureau Federation also urged the Senate “to swiftly approve this bill.”