Idaho Case Draws Help From Potato Groups

Published online: Jun 03, 2004
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Some Pacific Northwest agriculture groups like Potato Growers of Idaho and the Washington State Potato Commission have intervened in an Idaho case that could establish precedent regarding the need for a pollution discharge permit to use pesticides.

The case involves a situation in Gem County in northern Idaho, in which the EPA told the county's mosquito control board last year that a Clean Water Act Permit was not needed.

The county has been threatened with a lawsuit from an organic farm for applying pesticides without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems permit.

The WSPC worries that the PA's refusal to back that positon in court puts farmers in a bad position. They want the federal court to make EPA defend its position that compliance with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act satisfies compliance with the Clean Water Act.

Without such a ruling farmers may find themselves the subject of citizen lawsuits under the Clean Water Act if pesticides get into canals or ditches, even if the application was in compliance with FIFRA, the ag groups contend.