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Commentaries and editorials

Simpson Draws Praise From
the Idaho Water User Community

by Staff
Ag Weekly, July 12, 2011

Boise, Idaho - Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson (R-Id) has drawn strong praise from the Idaho water user community for his legislative efforts designed to head off burdensome governmental red tape that directly threatens the state's vital irrigation water distribution system.

Representative Simpson, acting in his position as Environment Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman, succeeded in attaching legislation to a House Interior Department appropriation bill that would help protect entities that must spray herbicides and pesticides in, near or above water from double permitting requirements.

The legislation, HR 872, would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) so the Environmental Protection Agency could not require additional permits for pesticide use under the Clean Water Act. It would also amend the Act to prohibit issuing permits for pesticide use. HR 872 has already passed the House with strong bipartisan support. In addition to passing the House, HR 872 was cleared by the Senate Agriculture committee last month.

The full House appropriations committee is expected to take up the Interior Department appropriation bill on July 13.

"We appreciate Congressman Simpson's continued diligence in trying to cut through the red-tape and bureaucracy that threatens to cripple our ability to deliver water to farms and communities throughout Idaho," said Norm Semanko, Executive Director of the Idaho Water Users Association, the state's largest water user group.

Idaho and other western water users employ aquatic herbicides to keep canals free and clear of weeds for water delivery and to avoid flooding. In addition to assisting in the delivery of water and growing food, pesticides are used to help control mosquitoes and other insects. Herbicide sprays are also used to control weeds in lakes that provide recreation. The chemicals are already regulated under tough environmental and usage legislation that has been in place for four decades.

But the EPA is imposing a second, complicated, technical permit process before those activities can be done. This even though the application of aquatic herbicides in canals, ditches, drains and other irrigation delivery and drainage facilities is statutorily exempt under the Clean Water Act. The double permitting requirement would go into effect October 31

"Congressman Simpson brings some much-needed common sense into EPA's double-permitting requirement. Pesticides are already regulated by the federal government and the current overreaching by EPA and activist special interest environmental groups pose a real danger to the economic well being of Idaho water users. Congressman Simpson understands that clearly and has moved decisively to head off this unnecessary double layer of Federal regulation," Semanko added.

Related Pages:
House Addresses Double Whammy to Irrigators by Carol Ryan Dumas, Capital Press, July 21, 2011

Simpson Draws Praise From the Idaho Water User Community
Ag Weekly, July 12, 2011

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