Statement of Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vt.
Ranking Member, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
On EPA’s Pesticide Waiver Rule
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today issued the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s issuance of a final rule that will not require Clean Water Act permitting when pesticides are applied to, on or near water, even though a portion of the pesticides will wind up in the water. "EPA's final rule is contrary to the purpose of the Clean Water Act, which is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation's waters,” Jeffords said. “We must strengthen, not weaken, our policies and laws that prevent pesticides from polluting rivers, streams, lakes and our underground water supplies. Pesticide applications in or near water should not be exempt from Clean Water Act permitting, which is what the EPA has now allowed for. Residues from pesticides discharged into water are clearly pollutants within the meaning of the Act.” Pesticides are linked to birth defects, cancer, and neurological disorders. Each year, nearly one billion pounds of pesticides are used in the United States, much of which ends up in our nation's waterways. In March 2006, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a report on pesticide contamination of U.S. rivers, streams and groundwater. According to the USGS report, pesticides are frequently present in our nation's streams and groundwater, and occur at concentrations that may have effects on aquatic life or fish-eating wildlife.