H.R. 935, Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2013

H.R. 935

Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2013

Sponsor
Rep. Bob Gibbs

Date
July 30, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, July 30, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 935, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2013, under a rule.  H.R. 935 was introduced on March 4, 2013 by Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) and referred to the Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure and Agriculture, both of which ordered the bill reported by voice vote. 

Bill Summary

H.R. 935 amends the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (also known as the Clean Water Act or CWA) to prohibit the EPA from requiring a permit under the CWA for the discharge, into navigable waters, of a pesticide authorized for sale, distribution, or use under FIFRA.

Background

FIFRA governs the sale and use of pesticides in the U.S. through registration and labeling, in order to “protect human health and the environment from unreasonable adverse effects of pesticides.”[1]  FIFRA requires all pesticides be labeled indicating approved uses and restrictions.[2]  The objective of the CWA is to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s water.”[3]  It does this through prohibiting the discharge of a pollutant without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.[4]

 

In 30 years of administering the CWA, the EPA had not required an NPDES permit for the application of a pesticide when the pesticide is applied in a manner consistent with FIFRA.[5]  While the CWA has a provision granting citizen suits against those who discharge without an NPDES permit, FIFRA does not have such a provision.[6]  In the 1990s, citizen suits began being filed contending that an NPDES permit is necessary when applying a FIFRA-permitted product into a body of water.[7]  This resulted in numerous court decisions that created confusion regarding pesticide use under the CWA.[8]  A 2006 EPA rule codified the long-standing interpretation that the application of a FIFRA-approved pesticide did not require an NPDES permit.  However, this rule was vacated in 2009 by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which in turn required the EPA to develop and implement a new NPDES permitting process under the CWA to cover pesticide use.[9]  The new permitting process has increased the administrative and monetary burden on pesticide applicators, sometimes imposing as much as $50,000 in compliance costs annually for small businesses and local governments.[10]  This legislation, consistent with EPA’s 2006 rule, eliminates the NPDES permit requirement for the application of pesticides authorized under FIFRA.

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[1] See House Report 113-467, pt 2., at 1.
[2] Id. at 2.
[3] Id. at 2.
[4] Id. at 2.
[5] Id. at 2.
[6] Id. at 2.
[7] Id. at 2.
[8] Id. at 2.
[9] Id. at 3. Note: the rule received a two-year stay until 2011.
[10] Id. at 5.

Cost

CBO estimates that this legislation would have no significant impact on the federal budget, direct spending, or revenues.[11]

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[11] http://www.cbo.gov/publication/44686

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.