On April 9, 2009, the Department of Justice (DOJ) chose not to seek rehearing on an opinion issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in National Cotton Council v. EPA. DOJ instead filed a motion to stay the issuance of the Court’s mandate for two years. This time was requested to provide EPA time to develop, propose and issue a final NPDES general permit for pesticide applications, for States to develop permits, and to provide outreach and education to the regulated community.
Reversing EPA’s November 2006 Aquatics Pesticides rule, the 6th Circuit held that Clean Water Act permits are required for all biological pesticide applications and chemical pesticide applications that leave a residue in water when such applications are made in or over, including near, waters of the U.S. EPA estimates that the ruling will affect approximately 365,000 pesticide applicators that perform 5.6 million pesticide applications annually.
EPA has stated that it intends to work closely with states and the environmental and regulated communities in developing a general permit that is protective of the environment and public health.
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