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CWA NPDES Pesticide General Permit
Golf course operators and their superintendents are some of the nation's leading practitioners of integrated pest management, a philosophy that reduces the potential environmental risks of pesticide usage. However, pesticide users are now subject to a court-imposed requirement that creates additional burdens on their aquatic pesticide applications on, over, or near “waters of the U.S.” Such applications were already effectively regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), but they must now receive additional, and unnecessary, permits under the Clean Water Act that do not provide additional environmental protection. FIFRA already regulates pesticides use to protect the safety of all who either use it or are exposed to it from “unreasonable adverse effects” – including from applications on, over, or near “waters of the U.S.”
Status: House Passes Bill Reducing Duplication on Pesticide Applications
One of the key issues presented by the golf industry to legislators on National Golf Day was the request for relief from regulations that were duplicative and increased operational cost. Chief among those issues was the “Clean Waters Act NPDES Pesticide General Permits.” The golf industry argued that pesticides are already highly regulated under FIFRA, and are already subjected to an intensive approval process by the EPA, where they are registered after approval.
On May 24, the House approved the “Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2017,” a measure now in the Senate, which is also deliberating the “Sensible Environmental Protection Act of 2017.”
If your Senator is not currently one of the 17 cosponsors of the bill, you are encouraged to reach out to their staff to ask for support and and share with them the level of oversight existing from your local, state and federal officials already. Adding another permitting agency in the process is unnecessary. Both bills contain legislation which returns oversight and permit approval to the state. This approval is only granted when the state has demonstrated they meet the required management and oversight capabilities to ensure effective protection of our navigable waters.
If this bill passes in the Senate and has been reconciled with the House version, then it will go the President for signature. The NGCOA will continue to monitor and provide updates as this moves to final passage.
This issue is supported by the WE ARE GOLF Coalition. Founded by the National Golf Course Owners Association, Club Managers Association of America, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, and The PGA of America, WE ARE GOLF is a broad-based coalition aimed at maximizing the industry's synergy and reducing redundancy. Its growing membership includes participation from association members, multi-course owners, manufacturers and golf facilities. First and foremost, the goal of WE ARE GOLF is to get members of Congress to understand golf's contributions to communities across the country when they're developing and advancing important legislation - just as all small businesses want.