Roundtable discussion with EPA clarifies NPDES permits


Farm interests are urging Senate passage of a bill that will help avoid unnecessary regulation of farm chemicals, as farmers already follow strict guidelines for pesticide application according to labeling laws.

The Sixth Court of Appeals ruled in 2009 that the EPA must require pesticide users to apply for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit under the Clean Water Act…The House passed legislation this spring – HR 872 -that would not require an NPDES permit when applying pesticides according to the EPA-approved label…  The bill awaits action by the Senate – but the permits are set to take effect October 31, 2011.

During a roundtable discussion with EPA officials and ag producers in Fargo Friday morning, North Dakota Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring said state officials are prepared for whatever plays out.

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In North Dakota, Goehring says the Department of Health has designed the permit, and they’ve tried to narrow it down to exempt most of agriculture.

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Thanks to conversations with the EPA, Goehring says officials have been able to clarify exactly what types of pesticide applications are subject to the permit rule as it currently stands.

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Not every state is as prepared as North Dakota…Florida’s Ag Commissioner recently sent a letter to the EPA stating that most states are nowhere near being ready to implement the program.

The EPA officials on-hand at the discussion were James Marin, Region 8 administrator, and Jennifer Schuller, agriculture advisor for Region 8.

Rusty Halvorson-Farm Director