OACFA Weighs In on Pesticide Use Ruling


On behalf of the members of the Oregon Agricultural Chemicals & Fertilizers Association, OACFA president Bob Schroeder wrote a letter urging the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission to reject a petition submitted by the Northwest Environmental Advocates on August 12, 2012. The petition would have required the DEQ to:

  • Initiate rulemaking to adopt pesticide use regulations into Oregon’s water quality standards rules.
  • Issue permits that authorize the discharge of the listed pesticides in, over or near the water to include additional requirements.
  • Petition the Oregon Department of Agriculture to adopt the proposed pesticide use regulations and consider prohibiting the sale or use of certain pesticides in the state.
  • Petition the Department of Forestry to amend its rules to incorporate proposed pesticide use regulations.

The Petition also sought certain non-rulemaking actions, including that the Commission:

  • Direct DEQ to re-open and revise pesticide permits to add requirements
  • Petition the Department of Agriculture to adopt pesticide application requirements into the Agricultural Water Quality Management Area Rules, and
  • Petition the Board of Forestry to incorporate pesticides application requirements into the forest practices rules.

“First and foremost, we contended that the petition was extremely premature in nature and would have ultimately brought a greater degree of contention into continuing discussions regarding Oregon’s water quality standards and associated regulations,” Schroeder said. “We further contended that rather than advancing objective and rationale regulatory decisions, the petition would have served to short-circuit ongoing efforts with respect to the quality of Oregon’s water resources and would have ultimately resulted in a more contentious and litigious atmosphere surrounding policies and regulatory practices as they related to water quality issues.”

In response to the Petition and on behalf of the Commission, the Department of Environmental Quality invited public comment on the petition beginning on August 28, 2012, and held a public hearing on September 28, 2012 in Portland. They received comment from 105 individuals and organizations.

With respect to the proposed rule amendments, the Commission considered the following issues as applicable:

  • Options for achieving the existing rule’s substantive goals while reducing the negative economic impact on businesses
  • The continued need for the existing rule
  • The complexity of the existing rule
  • The extent to which the existing rule overlaps, duplicates or conflicts with other state or federal rules and with local government regulations and
  • The degree to which technology, economic conditions, or other factors have changed in the subject area affected by the existing rule, since the agency adopted the rule.

“Aside from the aforementioned issues, we encouraged the Environmental Quality Commission to carefully consider and evaluate the potential detrimental economic impacts associated with the desired actions promoted by the petitioners,” Schroeder said. To idle agricultural or forestry production based upon what may be termed “unquantified” scientific findings appears to be less than a prudent course.”

The Commission, after hearing presentations from the Petitioner and department staff, discussed the Petition at their regular meeting on October 25, 2012. The Commission denied the Petition for Rulemaking and declined to take any of the actions it specified.

–By Jan Jackson

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