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 reaction to a recently released report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) on pesticides contamination of U.S. rivers, streams and ground water: "This report is compelling evidence that 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 monitors changes in the chemical composure of waterways and protects aquatic ecosystems." According to the USGS report, pesticides are frequently present in our nation's streams and ground water and occur at concentrations that may have effects on aquatic life or fish-eating wildlife. The USGS noted that the use of pesticides raises questions about possible effects on the environment, including water quality. Pesticides are linked to birth defects, cancer, and neurological disorders. Each year, close to one billion pounds of pesticides are used in the United States, much of which ends up in our nation's waterways.