PANNA: Action Alert: Endangered Species Need Pesticide Review
Pesticide Action Network Updates Service (PANUPS)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may no longer be required to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service when regulating pesticides. This new rule proposed by the Bush Administration would seriously disable the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Currently under the ESA, all pesticide decisions made by EPA are subject to review by the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively, "the services") if endangered species may be affected.
The proposed regulation gives EPA the ability to conclude unilaterally that the use of certain pesticides "are not likely to affect a listed species" adversely, and thereby avoid review by "the services," which have primary responsibility and special expertise in wildlife protection.
The EPA is taking comments on the proposed rule change until March 10, 2003. Please contact EPA and ask the agency to ensure that endangered species are protected from the effects of pesticides.
"What is most disturbing is that these new rules were written after months of discussion with industry representatives but no input at all from the conservation community," said Dr. Patti Bright, American Bird Conservancy. "It is appalling to think that industry is essentially controlling pesticide regulation and endangered species protection at the EPA. The fox is in charge of the hen house."
Pesticides kill millions of birds annually, as well as many other species, including endangered mammals. American Bird Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife and the Florida Wildlife Federation are currently involved in litigation with EPA over use of the pesticide fenthion, which has killed numerous birds, including an endangered species (Piping Plover) in Florida. Another widely used pesticide coming up for EPA re-registration review, brodifacoum, (the active ingredient of the rodenticide D-Con) has killed a number of endangered San Joaquin kit foxes in California as well as golden eagles. This same pesticide has been responsible for the vast majority of the more than 48,000 recent rodenticide poisoning cases of children under six years old reported to poison control centers across the nation.
Last July a federal court in Seattle ordered EPA to initiate consultations with the National Marine Fisheries Service on protection of salmon from 54 pesticides. EPA's own documents revealed that current uses for several dozen pesticides are likely to result in surface water contamination that threatens fish or their habitat. EPA and U.S. Geological Survey water monitoring has discovered 54 different pesticides that adversely impact salmon, at least 14 of which have been found at concentrations unsafe for salmon and other aquatic life. Several species of salmon are listed as endangered under the ESA.
Send your comments on this proposed rule that exempts EPA from consultation with experts at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service in determining a pesticide's adverse affects on an endangered species or its habitat.
Tell EPA the proposed changes are unacceptable. EPA has a duty to ensure endangered species are protected from pesticides. EPA must continue to ask experts at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to determine whether a pesticide harms an endangered species or its habitat.
Comments must be received by Monday, March 10, 2003.
Send comments to:
For more information about pesticide active ingredients, visit the PAN Pesticide Information Database http://www.pesticideinfo.org/.