ASA supports maintaining science, risk-based processes for consideration of pesticides and environmental issues by EPA. Pesticides are important for protecting farmers’ operations from billions of dollars in damages annually from weeds, insects, and other pests. However, it is essential this review process is based on the best available science to ensure these tools are safe for humans and the environment.
The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) together provide a robust, thorough framework to review and periodically re-review pesticides, ensure their use is not harming the environment or the workers who apply them, and that they are safe for our food and feed supplies. Moreover, it is important that EPA can maintain a skilled, expert workforce who can review the science and make informed decisions on the best use of these products. ASA rejects any attempts to undermine this critical legal and regulatory framework, the sound-science on which it is based, or the ability for EPA to maintain the necessary skilled workforce to conduct this vital work.
ASA worked hard to push against the 2015-era Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule and advocate for a replacement. The old rule was confusing and did not allow regulatory certainty for America’s farmers and ranchers. In December 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a new rule to replace the 2015-era rule. It protects waterways while still offering a workable solution for farmers, and considers comments submitted by ASA and other impacted stakeholders. WOTUS’ repeal, importantly, ended a state-by-state patchwork of regulations.
The new rule is based on the standard set out by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in Rapanos v. United States that the CWA should apply only to ‘navigable waters’ connected by a surface flow at least part of the year, with other waters to be regulated by the states. Before repeal, creeks, streams and ditches on soybean farmers’ land were subjected to a broad, one-size-fits-all regulatory definition that made no sense for individual farms and went beyond the intent of Congress.
ASA is appreciative of the Administration for this effort designed to help farmers and ranchers. Soybean producers appreciate the significance of clean water and strive to be responsible stewards of our water, land and environment. But it is important that policies be in line with the intent of the law and the rulings of the Supreme Court, which is to protect our resources through responsible and practical rules and regulations.