EPA is producing a General Permit for pesticides under the Clean Water Act.  EPA is developing the PGP in response to a 2009 court ruling in National Cotton Council, et al. v. EPA in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, which vacated EPA’s rule exempting pesticide spraying activities from permit requirements. The ruling was stayed until April, but EPA filed for an extension of the stay until Oct. 31, partly because of delays in receiving the ESA Section 7 consultations with NMFS and FWS.

Pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, The National Marine Fisheries Service has issued a Biological Opinion for the PGP. Under Section 7, the Fish and Wildlife Service also has to review the PGP to ensure that it does not jeopardize endangered or threatened species or their habitats.  The review must also specify steps that EPA must take to prevent such jeopardy.

The FWS review may find even greater impacts than the NMFS review.  FWS oversees a significantly greater number of species potentially at risk from spraying than NMFS.

● To read NMFS’ biological opinion for the PGP and to read EPA’s website on the PGP, please see http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/home.cfm?program_id=410