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Mae Wu’s Blog

Letting Pesticide Sprayers Ignore the Clean Water Act

Mae Wu

Posted June 21, 2011 in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment

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As feared, today the Senate Agriculture Committee sided with the pesticide industry and against our health and the health of our waters by eliminating all Clean Water Act protections of our rivers, lakes and streams against pesticide pollution.  To add insult to injury, the Committee made this damaging decision without a single hearing or public conversation. Not only have the members scoffed at our health and our environment, they have done so without letting democracy play itself out in the light of day.

The problem of pesticides contaminating our waters is not theoretical. Even with limited data, we know that pesticides already pollute more than 1,000 of our waterways. And yet the members of the Senate Agriculture Committee voted today to make the problem worse, not better. These chemicals are designed to kill things, and yet the Committee chose to let people put them into our waters without any Clean Water Act Protections.

EPA has already finished the permit to make sure that people who spray pesticides directly into water follow the Clean Water Act. (Check out the permit here.) That permit will go into effect on October 31 of this year. But if this bill passes, that permit is moot. Thanks to the Agriculture Committee, what should have been our last summer of having to swim in pesticide-infested waters could soon become a lifetime of pesticide contaminated swimming holes with no end in sight.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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