FLA Calls its members into action for YES vote in Congress
On March 16, the Forest Landowners Association asked for your help to recruit U.S. House supporters for House Resolution 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011. You answered the call to action and the bill swiftly passed out the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure by a vote of 46-8. Forest landowners picked up a lot of Democratic support that day; the day that you responded to our call to action.
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 872 and FLA is mobilizing forest landowners into action. Please call your Representative to let them know that as a forest landowner you urge them to vote YES and support the passage of H.R. 872. You can be connected to your Representative through the capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121.
H.R. 872 would exempt pesticide users from obtaining a federal Clean Water Act permit for spraying over water. It was written in response to a 2009 federal appeals court ruling - National Cotton Council v. EPA - that said EPA permitting under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) does not do enough to regulate pesticide sprays over water. The court gave EPA until April 9 to start issuing additional permits under the water pollution law.
“Without Congressional action, this misguided ruling would be a crushing blow to an already fragile economy. It would unleash a blitz of regulatory burdens starting with requiring an extra permit for pesticide applications, thousands of dollars in fines for non-compliance, and an increased risk of lawsuits down the road,” stated the bills co-author, Agriculture Committee Chairman, Frank Lucas (R-OK).
EPA estimates that the Sixth Circuit's ruling will affect approximately 365,000 pesticide applicators nationwide that perform 5.6 million pesticide applications annually. It will cost $50 million and require over one million hours per year to implement. These permits will have broad negative impacts, without providing any identifiable additional environmental benefits. The permits’ complex compliance requirements will impose new burdens on thousands of landowners, small and large businesses, communities, counties, and state and federal agencies legally responsible for pest control, and exposing them to legal jeopardy through citizen suits that can be filed over alleged paperwork violations.
Ultimately, the permit could jeopardize jobs, the economy and human health protections across America as regulators and permit applicants grapple to implement and comply with these permits. The costs and liabilities associated with such a permit could be the determining factor in a landowner’s decision whether to maintain their land as forested.
We have no time to waste. The court order goes into effect on April 9. It is imperative that forest landowners contact their member of Congress to encourage swift passage of H.R. 872. Call the capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Representative.
To learn more about these issues, or others affecting private forest landowners, please contact Frank Stewart or call (703) 549-0347.