Reissuance of the Pesticide General Permit for Discharge of Pesticide Pollutants into Waters of the United States
The biological opinion on the Pesticide General Permit recommends reasonable and prudent alternatives to protect ESA-listed species and their designated critical habitat.
On July 29, 2021, NOAA Fisheries gave the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) its final biological and conference opinion on EPA’s Pesticide General Permit (PGP) issued under the Clean Water Act. In addition to registering or reregistering pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, EPA’s PGP regulates the discharge of pesticide residues directly to waters of the United States where EPA is the permitting authority. The PGP specifically authorizes discharges of residues resulting from four pesticide use patterns: mosquito and other flying insect pest control, weed and algae pest control, nuisance animal control, and forest canopy pest control. This includes residues from pesticides applications that NMFS has determined to jeopardize the continued existence of ESA-listed species and likely to destroy or adversely modify the designated critical habitat for those species. NOAA Fisheries concluded that, while the PGP provides an additional layer of protection over restrictions provided by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act registrations, EPA’s PGP does not provide enough protections to avoid jeopardy or adverse modification of critical habitat. Therefore, the biological opinion on the PGP recommends reasonable and prudent alternatives to protect ESA-listed species and their designated critical habitat.