With that background, on Thursday, the EPA requested the court-imposed April 9 deadline be extended to October 31, 2011.Just a day earlier, Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, wrote to Administrator Jackson, urging the agency to ask for a nine-month delay.

“Providing additional time will give the relevant regulatory agencies enough time to properly implement the Court’s 2009 ruling, which made applications of aquatic pesticides subject to NPDES permitting requirements,” wrote Stabenow. 

Meanwhile, on the House side, a bipartisan bill, HR 872 (Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011), was introduced on Tuesday. If the new requirements kick in on April 9, “pesticide applications not covered by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit are subject to a fine of up to $37,500 per day per violation,” said a House Agriculture Committee press release announcing the bill. “In addition to the cost of compliance, pesticide users will be subject to an increased risk of litigation under the citizen suit provision of the CWA. The legislation would amend FIFRA and the CWA to clarify congressional intent and eliminate the requirement of a NPDES permit for the use of FIFRA-registered pesticides.”

HR 872 would “eliminate an unnecessary and duplicative regulatory burden imposed by an uninformed court decision,” said Oklahoma Rep. Frank Lucas, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.

Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, ranking member, said “Congress never intended for farmers and ranchers to meet additional permit requirements for pesticide applications under FIFRA. The last thing producers need is more regulation and this bill will relieve producers from meeting a costly regulatory burden that would have little to no environmental benefit.”

Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, urged Congress to “immediately pass H.R. 872. Time is of the essence. We call on Congress to take action now to approve H.R. 872. It provides a permanent solution to the regulatory quagmire of duplicative pesticide permitting requirements facing farmers, ranchers and others who use pesticides.”