Scott Pruitt Confirmed as EPA Administrator
In February, the U.S. Senate voted 52-46 to confirm Scott Pruitt as the next Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pruitt previously was Oklahoma’s Attorney General. We hope to have a healthy working relationship with Administrator Pruitt and the EPA during his tenure and will continue to articulate the importance of fully funding the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP).
President Trump Signs Executive Order to Rewrite WOTUS
In February, President Trump signed an executive order that will begin the process of redoing the controversial Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. The order instructs the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin the process of rewriting the rule. It is important to note that the executive order does not rescind the rule but rather starts the timely rule making process of redefining WOTUS. The executive order suggests that the two agencies should “consider interpreting the term ‘navigable waters,’” as defined in 33 U.S.C. 1362(7), in a manner consistent with the opinion of Justice Antonin Scalia in Rapanos v. United States, which would be a favorable interpretation for the pest management industry.
The WOTUS rule remains stayed by court order, while jurisdictional litigation is on going in the 6th Circuit. This is a promising development for the pest management industry in the ongoing WOTUS saga.
NPMA Submits Comments to CDC on Zika Assistance to States and Territories
NPMA has submitted comments to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concerning the draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment (draft PEA) for mosquito control activities funded by HHS/CDC funds to combat zika virus transmission in the United States.
The draft PEA details how the CDC will support in these efforts, either directly or through technical and/or financial assistance, for mosquito control activities of territorial, tribal, state and local governments. The focus of efforts will include: (1) Conducting mosquito surveillance; (2) Removing habitats where mosquitoes lay eggs; (3) Controlling the aquatic immature life stages; (4) Controlling adult mosquitoes; (5) Monitoring control programs; and (6) Supporting public outreach and risk communication efforts. The CDC specifically discusses entering into contract with private industry to support states and territories in need of mosquito abatement services.
NPMA emphasized that the structural pest management industry is uniquely prepared and equipped to partner with those states and territories that need assistance with mosquito control services and offered assistance in several areas of the program and requested additional information to make the process of partnering with private industry more efficient.