COURT GRANTS EXTENSION ON CWA PERMITS
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has granted the Environmental Protection Agency's request for a two-year extension of the January ruling that would require the agency to develop a Clean Water Act permitting program for pesticide applications. The extension will allow EPA adequate time to determine how to structure the program that could cover hundreds of thousands of pesticide applications.
The National Corn Growers Association and several other agricultural groups have requested a rehearing of this case and the court has not yet ruled on whether to grant that request. NCGA also remains concerned with this decision and its potential implications to the agriculture sector.
The Sixth Circuit case ruled that pesticides should be considered "pollutants" under the Clean Water Act, just like any kind of industrial waste, and that a spray nozzle is effectively a "point source." Under this ruling, all pesticide applications with the potential for reaching any body of water would be required to apply for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. These permits could cost in the thousands of dollars and can cause serious delays if the issuing agency has a backlog of applications.