Lawmakers Use Zika Crisis To Push Pesticide Break

WASHINGTON -- Congress has so far failed to pass emergency funding to deal with the looming threat of the Zika virus, but the House passed a bill Tuesday that would use the mosquito-borne disease as a justification for rolling back clean water rules. The measure, recently renamed the Zika Vector Control Act, was first proposed in 2011 after court cases forced the Environmental Protection Agency to treat pesticides as pollution under the Clean Water Act when they're sprayed in or near water. The court order and the resulting EPA regulations angered many in the pesticide industry because it forced them to get a new permit to spray in certain circumstances, on top of a more general permit already required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. People in the pesticide industry said this was duplicative, although the court ruling specifically said that the broader pesticide permit fails to take into account whether or not a specific body of water is already polluted by the pesticide in question, which is the purview of the Clean Water Act. The 2011 bill that offered to roll back the new water protections, dubbed the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act, passed the House but never made it out of the Senate. The legislation that passed in the House Tuesday is nearly identical, except it has a sunset date of 2018. That prompted mockery from Democrats who opposed the measure. "What it should be called, perhaps, is the Pesticide Trojan Horse Act, which would be a more apt name for what this bill actually does," said Rep

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