EPA OKs Spraying Pesticides over Waters
by Michael Doyle
Published on Tuesday, November 28, 2006 by the McClatchy Newspaper
Read the entire article at: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/1128-05.htm
The Bush administration pleased farmers and frustrated environmentalists Monday by declaring that pesticides can be sprayed into and over waters without first obtaining special permits.Summarized by Copernic Summarizer
The heavily lobbied decision is supposed to settle a dispute that's roiled federal courts and divided state regulators. It's popular among those who spray pesticides for a living, but it worries those who fear poisoned waters will result.
"We need to act fast to stop mosquitoes when they are found," argued Jim Tassano, a pest-control operator in the California foothills town of Sonora. It is far cheaper and much more effective to kill them as larvae ... if a permit is required, the costs would skyrocket."
Tassano was one of hundreds to weigh in over the past three years as the Environmental Protection Agency mulled its options. His sentiments were shared by California's Merced and Tulare mosquito control districts, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and the Washington State Potato Commission.
"Requiring (federal) permitting would unnecessarily disrupt the effectiveness of (pest) control operations and adversely impact hundreds of business," the South Carolina Aquatic Plant Management Society warned.
The EPA decision gave the pest operators what they wanted. It also closely parsed the English language for what the all-important word "pollutant" means.
EPA officials concluded that a pesticide, when it's deliberately applied, isn't a "pollutant" under the terms of the 1972 Clean Water Act.
Environmentalists, though, note that mosquito-killing chemicals can also poison shrimp, frogs and other aquatic innocents.
"Pesticides are intended to kill living organisms, something that most would consider an adverse effect on the environment," noted Janette K. Brimmer, legal director for the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy.