The winter of more than one type of blizzard
Chuck Spencer is GROWMARK’s director of government affairs
Posted on: 3/10/2011 2:19:00 PM
Enduring one of the snowiest Februarys on record was a challenge, but I recall the late 1970’s when we had one-lane paths on country roads because plows could not push the snow back any farther.
Today, friends on rural roads get frustrated if the plow truck has not come by noon.
Blizzards can be blinding, slow the process of farm work down, cost us extra time and money, and generally create a lot more work to get the same thing accomplished during our work day.
Regulatory blizzards have a lot in common with natural ones.
This past winter may be known for its regulatory blizzard as well as snow cover in all 50 states. Agriculture and small business are involved in writing opinions and reacting to regulations addressing financial services, pesticide application, spray drift, water quality, and nutrient management from livestock farms.
One regulation we should all know more about is a proposed rule by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue a national pollution discharge elimination system permit for pesticide applications. There is a proposed regulation scheduled to take effect April 9 in each state requiring a permit for the application of aquatic pesticides and applications of pesticides on forest lands.
Think of the paperwork created for another permit when the pesticide has already been approved through the EPA review process and has been regulated by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act since 1972.
The EPA had to develop this permit process due to a court ruling in 2009 when the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned EPA’s longstanding policy that did not require permits for pesticides applied on or near U.S. waters.
April 9 is nearly here and EPA does not have its final rule issued. States have proposed rules and are waiting to see the final EPA ruling.
The final rule is still under review by Office of Management and Budget. Discussions to consider asking the Circuit Court of Appeals to delay implementation are ongoing.
Agriculture and small business need science-based, predictable regulatory processes to guide our business decisions. We can work with regulations developed in this fashion. However, if we continue to have uncertain rulings from courts and not from science, we may have to turn to legislation for corrective action.
Chuck Spencer is GROWMARK’s director of government affairs. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.