PANNA: Action Alert: Protect Endangered Species From Pesticides


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Action Alert: Protect Endangered Species From Pesticides
May 28, 2004

The Bush Administration has proposed new rules for pesticide review that will sharply limit protections for wildlife under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). A campaign is underway opposing the new rules and on June 5th, legislators will deliver a letter to Interior Secretary Gale Norton urging her to rescind them. Ask your legislator to sign on to the letter and prevent endangered species from losing important protections from pesticides.

The Endangered Species Act requires the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) to consult with scientists at NOAA Fisheries and US Fish & Wildlife Service to determine what protections threatened and endangered wildlife need when registering or re-registering pesticides. This interagency consultation process is crucial, because past U.S. EPA decisions have ignored the agency’s own evidence of pesticides harming threatened and endangered salmon, bald eagles, and sea turtles, among other species. If U.S. EPA is allowed to cut the wildlife agencies out of their review process on pesticide impacts, critical information and procedural safeguards will be lost, further opening the process to political and economically-driven decision-making.

Pesticides kill millions of fish and other species each year. Bald eagles and peregrine falcons were placed on the endangered species list because of pesticide use, with eagles at 1% and peregrine falcons at 20% of their previous numbers when listed. Salmon in the Pacific Northwest, piping plovers in Florida, and San Joaquin kit foxes and golden eagles in California are only some of the species that have suffered from pesticide applications in recent years.

In addition to wildlife, the protections ensured by consultations required with Fish and Wildlife Service experts also serve to aid farmworkers who work in, and live near, the very areas where certain pesticides threaten wildlife. Strong protections from highly toxic pesticides are needed for both wildlife and farmworkers, and the Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries should use their authority and responsibility to ensure protections are put in place.

A number of legislators are waging a campaign to urge Secretary Norton to rescind the new U.S. EPA rules on wildlife consultation. Their letter, the Grijalva-Capps-Berman-Solis letter opposing the administration’s rollbacks of pesticide protections for endangered species, has 38 signatures and will go to Secretary Norton on June 5, 2004. Ask your Congressional Representative today to join the campaign; the last day for legislators to sign the letter is June 4, 2004.

Call or e-mail your Congressional Representative today. For contact information for your U.S. Representative visit to perform a quick search.

As of May 28, here is the list of legislators that have signed on to the letter:

Raúl M. Grijalva, Lois Capps, Howard L. Berman, Hilda L. Solis, Edward J. Markey, Chris Van Hollen, John W. Olver, Barney Frank, Maurice D. Hinchey, Jay Inslee, John Conyers, Jr., Dale E. Kildee, Michael M. Honda, Barbara Lee, George Miller, Sander M. Levin, Grace F. Napolitano, Danny K. Davis, Jim McDermott, Neil Abercrombie, Sam Farr, Nick Lampson, Dennis J. Kucinich, Adam B. Schiff, Tom Lantos, Rosa L. DeLauro, Ed Case, Jerrold Nadler, John Olver, Earl Blumenauer, Maxine Waters, Janice D. Schakowsky, Robert Wexler, James P. Moran, Susan A. Davis, Elijah E. Cummings, Bernard Sanders, Lloyd Doggett

Sample Letter:

Dear [Decision Maker],

I disagree strongly with the administration plans to weaken protections for endangered species by attempting to allow the Environmental Protection Agency to shut fish and wildlife experts out of the process of determining whether certain pesticides may place imperiled fish and wildlife at risk.

I support strong protections for endangered species. Please sign the Grijalva-Capps-Berman-Solis letter urging Secretary Norton to withdraw this dangerous proposal.

Thank you for your consideration.

[Your Name]
[Your Address]

Sources: Protect Wildlife and Farmworkers from Pesticides
Earthjustice,; Fight Weakening of Rules that Protect Endangered Species from Pesticides, Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides,

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.

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