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EPA is issuing an interpretive statement and a proposed rule in response to recent court decisions highlighting the need for EPA clarification regarding Clean Water Act (CWA) permitting requirements for the application of pesticides to or over the nation's waters.
The statement and proposed rule reflect EPA's long-standing policy that a CWA permit is not required where application of a particular pesticide to or over water is consistent with requirements under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Any pesticide that is approved for use in the United States must undergo extensive study and review to help ensure that, when properly used, it does not pose unreasonable risk to human health and the environment.
Benjamin Grumbles, assistant administrator for water at EPA, noted, "Clarifying this issue is critical because confusion over permitting requirements could keep public health officials from preventing or responding to an infestation of mosquitoes or from controlling an invasive species." Through this action the agency is reinforcing the importance for local officials, resource managers, agricultural producers, and other pesticide users of applying pesticides in accordance with their label directions. Applications of pesticides in violation of the labels are subject to enforcement under all appropriate statutes including FIFRA and the CWA.
EPA first solicited public comment on this issue in a Federal Register Notice published on Aug. 13, 2003. The public may provide input on the current proposed rule during a 60-day comment period.