PANNA: Action Alert: Endangered Species Need Pesticide Review


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Action Alert: Endangered Species Need Pesticide Review
March 3, 2003

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:

Public Information and Records Integrity Branch
Office of Pesticide Programs
Environmental Protection Agency (7502C)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20460-0001
Attention: Docket ID Number OPP-2003-0010

You can also submit comments by email to opp-docket@epa.gov
Attention: Docket ID Number OPP-2003-0010

Sources:
Press release, American Bird Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife, Farm Worker Justice Fund, National Wildlife Federation and others, January 28, 2003. Press Release, Washington Toxics Coalition, July 5, 2002.

For more information about pesticide active ingredients, visit the PAN Pesticide Information Database http://www.pesticideinfo.org/.

Contact:
American Bird Conservancy, P.O. Box 249, The Plains, VA, 20198; phone (540) 253-5780; fax (540) 253-5782; email abc@abcbirds.org; Web site http://www.abcbirds.org.

PANUPS is a weekly email news service providing resource guides and reporting on pesticide issues that don't always get coverage by the mainstream media. It's produced by Pesticide Action Network North America, a non-profit and non-governmental organization working to advance sustainable alternatives to pesticides worldwide.

You can join our efforts! We gladly accept donations for our work and all contributions are tax deductible in the United States. Visit http://www.panna.org/donate.

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