1982 Scorecard Vote
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide reauthorization bill (H.R. 5203) known as "FIFRA." The vote is on the Harkin (D-IA) amendment to restore state ability to set up pesticide programs tailored to local needs and set stricter pesticide regulations than the Reagan administration does. The bill written by the House Agriculture Committee would have crippled state regulatory programs by restricting state access to pesticide data. State would have had to rely on information collected by EPA and were forbidden from requiring additional data from manufacturers on their own. Some states like California already have better pesticide programs than EPA.
Conservationists have traditionally supported states rights to set stricter environmental protections than those of the federal government. This problem is especially serious when the federal EPA is no longer willing or able to cope with its pollution control responsibilities. A recent House Agriculture Subcommittee report said that budget cuts and increased pressure to speed up the approval of new pesticides may be forcing EPA scientists to shortcut standard review procedures. One of EPA's chief pesticide regulators conceded that phony "cut and paste" EPA toxic studies are sometimes based entirely on information provided by the chemical companies themselves. Moreover, EPA recently published new rules severely restricting public access to its pesticide data, making it nearly impossible for independent scientists to determine if pesticides approved by EPA are really safe.
EPA still allows the sale of herbicides with far higher levels of dioxin than the dirt at Times Beach, Missouri, the town EPA bought and evacuated because of dioxin contamination. Up to 165 million Americans may have been exposed to dioxin from herbicides. Federal programs do not take local conditions into account. Florida groundwater is close to the surface and easily contaminated, yet EPA did no groundwater studies before approving the use of "temic" in the orange groves. The state of Florida had to impose a moratorium on this acutely toxic poison because the EPA had done nothing. Amendment adopted 250-154; August 11, 1982. YES is the pro-environmental vote. The Senate never voted on FIFRA so the law comes up again in 1983. States kept their rights.