The American Farm Bureau Federation believes consolidated, bipartisan legislation offers the best hope of fixing the regulatory nightmare created by the 2009 court ruling that overturned a key exemption for pesticide use under the Clean Water Act.
AFBF President Bob Stallman says there are currently three different bills to clear this up and that while each effort is appreciated, farmers and ranchers need their lawmakers to come together in a unified effort.
That's why Farm Bureau is asking all three - House Ag Chair Collin Peterson, D-Minn, House Ag Ranking Member Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and Senate Ag leaders Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., to join forces.
Stallman notes the clock is ticking. EPA has set a timeline for the new permit process. He says it's going to cause a lot of confusion and expensive litigation before it's all said and done. He says Congress needs to take action quickly, in a bipartisan manner before the permit program starts in April of 2011.
"Farmers are bound by law to use pesticides properly in accordance with their labels," Stallman said. "The bureaucratic red tape of a duplicate permit process to apply a safe and already approved product should be unacceptable. The kind of regulatory overkill created by this misguided court decision will not improve food safety or the environment."