The U.S. Senate is now considering ill-advised legislation that would overturn key protections against spraying harmful pesticides in waterways and essentially exempt pesticides from the Clean Water Act – an unprecedented move that will cause irreparable harm to waterways and open the door to exemptions for all pollutants. Please take action to oppose this legislation by sending a message to the Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, urging her to put a stop to the bill.
Update: Our advocacy to defeat a Clean Water Act pesticide exemption is working! U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer has joined talks between the Senate agricultural committee and the Environmental Protection Agency, giving her a role overseeing a bill in the U.S. Senate that would exempt pesticides from the Clean Water Act. Please help us keep up the pressure by taking action today.
In 2009, San Francisco Baykeeper won an important court victory to protect aquatic life from pesticides when the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that pesticides are pollutants when applied to waterways and must be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Water Act.
Now, industry groups are attempting to persuade U.S. Senators that regulations on aquatic pesticide spraying create an undue burden on farmers because they apply to all farming activity – when in fact the regulations specifically apply only to pesticide applications that target waterways. Additionally, EPA is preparing general regulations rather than requiring every discharger to obtain an individual permit, further easing the regulatory burden on dischargers, while allowing EPA to protect public health and water quality.
It is critical that the Senate hold the line against the chemical and agricultural industries’ efforts to undermine Clean Water Act protections. Pesticides are manufactured to be toxic to living things and have caused harm to public health and aquatic ecosystems, particularly fish and amphibian life. They also move up the food chain and can contaminate drinking water supplies.
The Senate Committee could take a vote at any time. Please act now! Send a message to Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow today urging a "no" vote on Senate bill 718.
Photo by Scott Butner