Senators Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) have introduced the Restoring Effective Environmental Protection (REEP) Act (S. 3605). The American Soybean Association has endorsed the legislation, along with a coalition of other agriculture stakeholders.
The bill includes identical language from H.R. 872, which clarifies that Clean Water Act permits are not required for pesticide applications in or near water. In 2011, H.R. 872 was passed by the House with bipartisan support and approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee by voice vote.
The REEP Act, which has nine bipartisan cosponsors, also asks the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to report back to Congress on whether the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) process can be improved to better protect human health and the environment from pesticide applications. As a result of this new regulation, EPA has estimated an additional 365,000 pesticide users, including farmers, ranchers, state agencies, cities, counties, mosquito control districts, water districts, pesticide applicators, and forest managers that perform 5.6 million pesticide applications annually, will be required to obtain Clean Water Act permits. This is nearly double the number of entities previously subject to permitting requirements.
Sponsors of the bill hope it will be acted upon in the lame duck session of Congress that will start in November.