For Immediate Release: October 22, 2019
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal district court entered an order today that commits the Environmental Protection Agency to assess the risks that eight of the nation’s most harmful pesticides pose to protected plants and animals. More than 75 million pounds of these weed killers, insecticides and rat poisons are used every year across the country.
The legal victory for Center for Biological Diversity and Pesticide Action Network North America establishes firm deadlines for the EPA to finalize the biological evaluations of harms to species, as required under the Endangered Species Act.
Under the agreement the agency must complete assessments of four pesticides, including atrazine, the nation’s second most-used pesticide, by 2021. Assessments of four rodenticides, including the widely used rat poison brodifacoum, must be finalized in 2024.
“This victory requires the Trump EPA to finally protect some of our most endangered plants and animals from harmful pesticides,” said Stephanie Parent, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This important step is only the start. We still have work to do to make sure the EPA addresses the harms of all pesticides, as the law requires.”
Today’s agreement follows a prior court victory for the conservation groups in June 2018 in which the court rejected the EPA’s attempts to dismiss the lawsuit.
Pesticides covered by the agreement approved today by the U.S. District Court in San Francisco include atrazine, carbaryl, methomyl and simazine, as well as four rodenticides: brodifacoum, bromadiolone, warfarin and zinc phosphide.
“It’s unfortunate that it takes a court order for EPA to put protection of our most endangered species above pesticide industry profits,” said Kristin Schafer, executive director of PAN. “Assessing the dangers of pesticides and taking action to protect public health and the environment is the agency’s job, and we’ll keep fighting until EPA fulfills its duty.”
The EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs has a long history of failing to protect people and the environment from pesticides, including the dangerous herbicide atrazine, a widespread pollutant of groundwater and drinking water in this country. Atrazine, which has been linked to increased risk of cancer, causes reproductive problems and chemically castrates male frogs even at extremely low concentrations, was banned in the European Union more than a decade ago.
A recent EPA “preliminary risk assessment” found that the amount of atrazine released into the environment in the United States is likely harming most species of plants and animals, including mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles.
Stephanie Parent, Center for Biological Diversity: (971) 717-6404, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ahna Kruzic, Pesticide Action Network: (510) 927-5379, email@example.com
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Pesticide Action Network organizes with those on the frontlines of pesticide exposure —from farmworkers and family farmers to rural communities and beekeepers — to create a just, thriving food system. PAN links local and international consumer, labor, health, environment and agriculture groups into an international citizens’ action network.