Advocacy Alerts

CWA NPDES Pesticide General Permit 

03-14-2018 12:34

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.”

UPDATE (March 2018)

The golf industry supports passage of legislation which would negate the need for federal Clean Water Act (CWA) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for chemical spraying activities made in accordance with the Federal, Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Pesticides are already highly regulated under FIFRA. Products used for aquatic plant management are already subjected to an intensive approval process by the EPA before they can be registered. FIFRA already requires that the EPA ensure that pesticides cause "no unreasonable adverse effect’ to humans or the environment – including water quality and aquatic species - and that use labels are crafted to protect these resources. The label is the law: users who do not follow the pesticide label are in violation of federal law even without a water permit. We are asking congress to support passage of H.R. 953 and S. 340.

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.

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