Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
Supply · Service · Stewardship

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IFCA learned this afternoon that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided that it will not review a recent court ruling from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio regarding National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits being applied to pesticide applications. 

Crop Life America and a host of agricultural industry allies as well as the American Farm Bureau Federation had filed a petition on November 2, 2009 asking the USA's highest court to re-hear the case.  Several State Departments of Agriculture also signed on to the petition as did 30 members of Congress from both political parties.

"The panel's ruling creates another legal burden for our farmers, custom applicators and agricultural dealers and leads to additional regulations which may well further prevent food growers from maximizing their output" said Jay Vroom, CEO of Crop Life America.  He went on to say "this is not only detrimental to farmers, but could prevent the country from producing more food, fuel and fiber for a growing world population." 

USEPA is and will continue to develop a draft federal permit for pesticide applicators, which will be targeted at first toward aquatic applications such as mosquito control, aquatic uses and drainage and irrigation treatments.  The permit may be in place as early as Spring 2011.  It is not known yet how cumbersome the process will be, what the permits will cost, etc., but the ag industry believes that activist groups will continue to use the judicial system to ensure that these permits are required for all aspects of pesticide application in the United States. 

Our industry must continue to work with Congress to urge them to treat pesticide applications as non-point source applications and therefore not be subject to Clean Water Act programs such as the NPDES program.