Rouzer Amendment to Roll Back Duplicative Pesticide Permits

Pesticide applicators would not have to get additional permits under one of the few farm bill amendments the House Ag committee recently approved. The amendment approved by voice vote would reverse 2009 and 2021 court decisions and restore decades of precedent in pesticide permitting.

Amendment sponsor, North Carolina Republican David Rouzer:

“Some pesticide applicators are now required to obtain and maintain further permits under federal regulations to use pesticides, even on those that have an EPA approved label that already accounts for potential risk.”        

The 2014 and 2018 farm bills and a 2017 House bill ended the requirement, but the courts restored it in 2021. Rouzer says some Democrats, including Secretary Tom Vilsack, opposed the duplicative requirement, though most Ag Democrats seemed to oppose Rouzer’s amendment, including Rep. Jim McGovern.

“Mr. Rouzer’s amendment is yet another attempt to deregulate pesticide policy and strip state and local governments of their authority to have a say in chemical safety. This is an attempt to undermine the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. It looks like an attempt to put corporate profit above the health of our farmers, the integrity of our ecosystems, and the safety of our drinking water.”

That’s an argument that didn’t hold water with Ag Chair Glenn Thompson.

“Any pesticide registered by the EPA has undergone human health and environmental risk assessments, and the EPA approved label dictating the use of these tools already incorporates rules to mitigate any potential risk to human health or the environment.”

The underlying House farm bill also strengthens coordination between the EPA and USDA on risk mitigation during pesticide registration.