WHEREAS, the Clean Water Act (CWA) controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants in and around waters of the United States through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program; and
WHEREAS, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has never required NPDES permits for the application of pesticides for agricultural crop protection, mosquito control, invasive aquatic weed control, forest canopy insect control, or other registered uses of pesticides when properly applied following FIFRA-approved label directions; and
WHEREAS, a January 2009 U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decision, in the matter of National Cotton Council of America et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, vacated an EPA Rule which exempted certain pesticide applications made in, over, or near “waters of the United States” in accordance with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) from the federal Clean Water Act’s permitting requirements; and
WHEREAS, the Court granted EPA a two-year stay of its decision, during which time EPA was to develop a general permit for four aquatic pesticide uses in the states and territories without delegated CWA authority, and states which have assumed CWA authority may use this permit as a model in developing general permits for their states; and
WHEREAS, this change will require NJPDES permits for pesticide applications made to or near the “Waters of the State,” meaning the ocean and its estuaries, all springs, streams and bodies of surface or ground water and wetlands, whether natural or artificial, within the boundaries of the State of New Jersey or subject to its jurisdiction, and this would place additional burdens on applicators, impact crops in fields, pastures and forestlands adjacent to farm ponds or wetlands, ditches, streams or rivers, and interfere with the timely application of pesticides to control pests and diseases, and to control mosquitoes which may vector diseases of humans or horses and other livestock.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates to the 98th State Agricultural Convention, assembled in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on February 6-7, 2013, do hereby urge the New Jersey Congressional Delegation to support an effort to amend the Clean Water Act to make it clear that pesticides applied in accordance with their labels are not considered pollutants under the Act.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the New Jersey Congressional Delegation to support efforts in Washington to exempt agricultural operations and efforts to control or eradicate invasive species and mosquitoes from NPDES permitting requirements for applications of pesticides when properly applied in accordance with their label.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that, failing such action, we urge the New Jersey Congressional Delegation to support efforts to ensure that the resources required to process these new permits are covered by federal funds and do not strain the already scarce resources of state regulatory agencies or of New Jersey’s hard-working farmers.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that if the need for an NJPDES permit for the discharge of pesticides in or near waters of the United States is not eliminated by legislative action, we urge the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to actively seek the input of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and Rutgers University’s New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station to adopt an NJPDES permit that is no more stringent than is required by federal law and is as user-friendly as possible for those applying pesticides in or near waters of the United States.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we strongly urge New Jersey’s U.S. Senators to support any efforts to exempt agricultural operations and efforts to control or eradicate invasive species and mosquitoes from NPDES permitting requirements for applications of pesticides applied in accordance with their label.