News Releases

Sen. Moran Introduces Bill to Provide Regulatory Relief to Farmers, Water Users

Duplicative EPA regulations on pesticides prove costly and burdensome, yet provide no additional environmental protections

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture Chairman – joined a bipartisan group of senators this week in introducing legislation that would eliminate a costly and redundant U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation affecting farmers and rural communities across Kansas. 

The Sensible Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) seeks to eliminate a redundant and costly requirement that 365,000 pesticide users – including farmers, ranchers, state agencies, cities, counties, mosquito control districts, water districts, pesticide applicators and forest managers – get a Clean Water Act permit before spraying in or near lakes and streams. This is nearly double the number of entities previously subjected to permitting requirements, costing more than $50 million a year. These pesticide users, who perform 5.6 million applications annually, already have to follow stringent label requirements for pesticide application under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), so the Clean Water Act (CWA) permit only adds a duplicative, unnecessary layer of bureaucracy.

“This redundant regulation is hindering economic growth in rural communities and increasing the cost of doing business among farmers and ranchers without improving environmental protection,” Sen. Moran said. “As the EPA continues to implement unreasonable rules that increase burdens for Kansans and citizens across the country, it is vital that Congress provide much-needed relief. Our legislation would eliminate dual permitting requirements and make certain waters users and food producers who are already working to be good stewards of the environment do not face an additional layer of red tape.”

For more than 30 years, the EPA has implemented a comprehensive and rigorous regulatory structure for pesticide applications under what is commonly known as FIFRA, which governs the sale, distribution and use of pesticides, with the goal of protecting human health and the environment. The statute requires pesticides to be evaluated (undergoing more than 100 tests) and registered with EPA, and for users to comply with agency-approved, uniform labeling standards. Unfortunately, despite this federal regulatory framework already being in place, a 2009 court decision forced EPA to begin requiring CWA permits for certain applications of pesticides in or near water. This duplicative regulatory requirement went into effect in 2011.  

The SEPA legislation clarifies that CWA permits are not required for application of pesticides already regulated under FIFRA. The bill also requires EPA to report back to Congress on whether the FIFRA process can be improved to better protect human health and the environment.