Pesticide preemption bill introduced in Congress

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May 5, 2022

Rep. Rodney Davis

Rep. Rodney Davis

A proposed bill would, if passed, make pesticide preemption the law in all 50 states.

U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) introduced HR 7266, which would ensure the uniform protection of the public’s health, food supply and property from pests. That’s because the oversight of pest control would be handled jointly by each state’s lead agency and the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

These entities have the technical expertise and resources to best evaluate whether a pesticide is safe and effective. When pesticide preemption is not in place, the use of pesticides is determined and regulated at the local level. As a result, pest management professionals (PMPs) must keep track of regulations that may differ from one municipality to another.

Currently, the state lead agency works with the EPA on any and all pesticide use, sale or distribution in 46 states. Alaska, Maine, Maryland and Nevada do not have pesticide preemption laws. Recently, several states have pushed for their repeal.

“On the state legislative front, we anticipate about a dozen bills that would give localities the authority to regulate pesticides, with eight states considering and introducing such bills,” said Megan Provost, president of Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE). “No state that has passed a preemption law to safeguard state-level regulation of pesticides has ever repealed or amended it. Certainly, this bill speaks to the importance of uniform pesticide regulation to ensure safe product use and availability.”

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) called the proposed bill a “monumental achievement for the industry” because it illustrates the advocacy it has continued over the past five years. As in years past, pesticide preemption was one of the talking points at the NPMA’s Legislative Day event this year.

“The NPMA and the industry will work hard over the next year to help build support around this important legislation, and will continue to advocate for pesticide preemption in the 2023 Farm Bill,” said Ashley Amidon, vice president of public policy for the NPMA. “Preemption is critical to ensuring safe, consistent, and science-based use of pest control products, and is in alignment with the NPMA’s overall commitment to public health.”

The Illinois Pest Control Association (IPCA), where many of Rep. Davis’ constituents own pest control companies, also supports the bill. “Our industry is essential in protecting public health across the great state of Illinois, and we are so appreciative that Rep. Davis has championed this important preemption fix,” said Scott Fisher, IPCA president and owner of Scotty’s Pest Control in Decatur, Ill.

Rep. Davis introduced the bill on March 29, with the support of Reps. Jim Baird (R-Ind.), Troy Balderson (R-Ohio), David Valadao (R-Calif.), Jake LaTurner (R-Kan.), Tracey Mann (R-Kan.), Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa), Rick Allen (R-Ga.), Austin Scott (R-Ga.), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) and Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.). “They are the major supporters, and they understand the issue well,” Rep. Davis said. “We need people like that.”

Rep. Davis served as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research. In 2017, he introduced HR 1029, the Pesticide Registration Enhancement Act of 2017, which reauthorized the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act.

“Two Congresses ago, I wrote the bill that reauthorized the pesticide registration program that passed the House unanimously,” he said. “And now that we’ve seen some
local communities try to usurp some of the federal rules and regulations that we fought so hard to put in place, it concerned me. This is why I introduced [HR 7266].”

Rep. Davis called on PMPs to talk to their members of Congress, especially those in the majority, and ask them to bring up the bill for a vote to ensure its passage. pmp
You can reach Sofranec at dsofranec@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3793.

About the Author

Diane Sofranec

Diane Sofranec is the senior editor for PMP magazine. She can be reached at dsofranec@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3793.

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