Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Power, Politics, and Poison: The Story Behind National Cotton Council of America v. U.S. EPA

October 2011

Citation: 41 ELR 10946

Issue: 10

Author: Elisabeth A. Holmes and Charlie M. Tebbutt

For nearly 40 years, EPA allowed application of pesticides directly to or over waters of the United States without an NPDES permit and instead relied on the FIFRA registration process to regulated such pesticide use. Following mixed results from the courts regarding the legality of this practice, the pesticide industry filed a petition for rulemaking and obtained a favorable rulemaking outcome. Nonetheless, the pesticide industry challenged the results of its own rulemaking petition in hopes of obtaining an even more generous rule. The industry’s plan backfired when the Sixth Circuit overturned EPA’s rule, thereby requiring NPDES permitting, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the industry’s appeal. The pesticide industry is running a full-court press in Congress to pass legislation that would undo the Sixth Circuit decision and return to the old status quo.

Elisabeth Holmes has practiced law for nine years and holds an LL.M. in Environmental & Natural Resources Law from the University of Oregon. Charlie Tebbutt, of the Law Offices of Charles M. Tebbutt, P.C., has represented individuals and organizations affected by pollution for over 20 years and was lead counsel for the environmental plaintiffs in National Cotton Council of America v. EPA, Headwaters, Inc. v. Talent Irrigation District, and Saint John’s Organic Farm v. Gem County Mosquito Abatement District.

Download Article >>>