The House of Representatives is poised to vote on a bill tonight to eliminate the Clean Water Act protections for waterways that are being sprayed with pesticides.
Since 2011, anyone who plans to apply a pesticide into a body of water must first comply with a permit. It’s a simple permit that gives the public information about what pesticides are going into their local waterways. It is very commonsense. For example, if a lake is already heavily contaminated with a particular pesticide, this permit says that an applicator cannot put MORE of that particular pesticide into the lake.
This permit applies to sprayers who are applying directly into waters – so to treat for algae, weeds, invasive species, and mosquitos. It doesn’t affect farmers’ ability to use pesticides on land. (In fact, run off of irrigation water into waterways from farmland that contains pesticides has always been exempt from the Clean Water Act.)
EPA’s pesticide office has even said that they have received ZERO complaints about the permit or enforcement of the permit. Nothing from the states. Nothing from the applicators. Nothing. The sky isn’t falling.
This bill is a waste of time. Proponents are pretending to deal with a problem that doesn’t exist – all at the expense of our health. These Clean Water Act protects waterways that are used for swimming and fishing, and as sources of our drinking water.
So why would these politicians want to remove these protections? Are we too healthy? Are pesticide companies not making enough money?
Questions that I would want my representative to answer before he or she votes on this bill. And since there isn’t a good answer, the vote better be NO.
For more information, check out our factsheet.