EPA Seeks Stay, Wants Time to Develop Pesticide NPDES

On April 9, the U.S. government chose not to seek rehearing on an opinion issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in National Cotton Council v. EPA. Instead, the government filed a motion to stay issuance of the court’s mandate for two years to provide the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency time to develop, propose, and issue a final National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System general permit for pesticide applications, for states to develop permits, and to provide outreach and education to the regulated community.

Reversing EPA’s November 2006 Aquatics Pesticides rule, the Sixth Circuit held that Clean Water Act permits are required for all biological pesticide applications and chemical pesticide applications that leave a residue in water when such applications are made in or over, including near, waters of the United States. EPA estimates that the ruling will affect approximately 365,000 pesticide applicators that perform 5.6 million pesticide applications annually.

The agency plans to work closely with states and the environmental and regulated communities in developing a general permit that is protective of the environment and public health.