Court Grants Stay on Pesticide Permits
The Sixth Circuit Court of the US today granted the USEPA's motion for a 2 year stay on the ruling that will require all pesticide applicators to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) under the Clean Water Act in order to apply pesticides. After the USEPA refused to appeal the original court ruling that extended the NPDES permit to pesticide applicators, USEPA asked the court to give them 2 years in order to figure out how they are going to manage the permit program. USEPA estimated that the permits will apply to around 350,000 applicators, but the industry estimates that it will impact over 1 million applicators. Agriculture, state and local departments of transportation, utility rights-of-way, mosquito abatement and even de-icing applicators will be impacted by this ruling.
The agricultural industry organizations are appealing the original ruling, with no word yet on whether the court may decide to re-hear the case. If the original ruling stands and the two year stay remains in effect, the Illinois EPA will eventually have to find a way to issue tens of thousands of permits to pesticide applicators in Illinois. While the IL Dept of Ag has jurisdiction to enforce pesticide regulations, the NPDES program is part of the Clean Water Act which the IEPA enforces. Stay tuned for more developments in this VERY serious matter.