School pesticide bill in jeopardy

The School Environment Protection Act of 2001 (SEPA), an amendment to the education bill currently being considered on Capitol Hill, may be in trouble. SEPA was brokered by Sen. Robert Toricelli and was widely hailed as a workable compromise between environmental and industry groups. However, no similar measure was attached to the House version of the bill.

Because any bill sent to the President for signing must be approved by both chambers of Congress, the House of Representatives must now consider the measure. However, the legislation is facing serious challenges in the House.

Rep. Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Agriculture Oversight Subcommittee, strongly opposes the measure. The ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, Rep. Eva Clayton of North Carolina, also has serious concerns. Without the consent of the house, the measure cannot be approved.

If SEPA is ultimately approved, it will restrict pesticide applications in schools by requiring posting and prior notification, as well as limiting applications to certain times.

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