To date, EPA’s proposed general permit only covers applications of pesticides registered for aquatic use and applied to water or forest canopies into or over flowing or seasonal waters, and conveyances to those waters; it would not cover pesticide applications registered and intended for terrestrial use.

“However, activists indicate that they believe most pesticide applications should require a permit if there is even a chance that the pesticide could come in contact with any ‘water,’ either flowing water or seasonal drainage ditches that could be a conveyance to a water of the U.S.,” said Vroom.

“So, even though EPA may not currently cover farmland and rangeland pesticide applications, nothing in the CWA or the proposed permit protects against citizen suits against farmers for not obtaining a permit. This establishes an uncertain, increased level of liability for farmers and ranchers, as well as users applying pesticides to golf courses and public utility rights of way, and private homes and businesses.”

CropLife America has a long history of working cooperatively with EPA and the U.S. Congress on issues affecting crop protection, human health and the environment, Vroom said. Recently, however, businesses that support American agriculture have seen serious deviations from the regular order, transparency and scientific integrity of the federal government’s pesticide review process.