1986 Scorecard Vote
Over two billion pounds of pesticides are produced each year. This huge volume of toxic chemicals dumped into the environment and our food chain is having a tremendous impact on groundwater quality and our health.
The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) -- the law which "controls" the use of pesticides -- must be reauthorized and strengthened. Over 60 percent of pesticides on the market have not been adequately tested for their capacity to cause cancer, genetic damage or birth defects. In addition, current law allows a dangerous chemical to stay on the market if the supposed economic benefits outweigh the risk to human health or the environment.
Because of these shortcomings, environmentalists believe it is vital that states retain the right to set stricter standards that the federal government for the amount of pesticide residue that can be left on food before going to market. During debate on FIFRA reauthorization on the House floor, Reps. Roberts (R-KS) and Stenholm (D-TX) offered an amendment to strip states of this right by requiring them to follow uniform tolerances set by EPA. As a last minute compromise, Rep. Panetta (D-CA) proposed an amendment which spelled out procedures to give states a hearing before EPA set the uniform national tolerances, and to place the burden of proof on EPA to show that uniform standards were needed to protect interstate commerce.
Panetta Amendment rejected 157-183; September 19, 1986. YES is the pro-environmental vote. (Panetta Amendment to H.R. 2482, Pesticide Control Reauthorization.) The Roberts-Stenholm Amendment, without the Panetta provisions, subsequently was adopted and the House overwhelmingly passed FIFRA. However, because of the differences between the Senate and House versions, FIFRA was not reauthorized by the end of the 99th Congress.