Daily News Archive
July 30, 2002
Prevent Use of Eagle-killing Pesticide
An important victory
for wildlife and public health was won by a coalition of environmental
groups, brought together by American Bird Conservancy (ABC). ABC reports,
action from the coalition has prompted the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) to revoke the authorization it had previously granted allowing use
of the deadly pesticide carbofuran to control the rice water weevil in
Louisiana, preventing the deaths of possibly thousands of birds.
Carbofuran is among the most highly toxic pesticides known to birds. A
single granule is lethal, and more than fifty species, including Bald
and Golden Eagle, Eastern Bluebird, Great Horned Owl, Red-tailed Hawk,
Kestrel, Northern Pintail, and Blue-winged Teal, have been documented
as having died from carbofuran poisoning. The granular formulation of
the pesticide was the most lethal to birds and was phased out from legal
use beginning in 1991. EPA estimated that prior to cancellation of the
granular formulation, up to two million birds were killed each year by
carbofuran. In fact, no other substance listed under the EPA's Ecological
Incident Investigation System has killed more birds.
Environmental groups were alarmed when they became aware that EPA was
considering a "Section 18 - Emergency Use" application for the
granular form of the pesticide on up to 100,000 acres of rice crops in
Louisiana, and were outraged when EPA issued a permit allowing 10,000
acres to be dosed with the toxic substance without alerting FWS, the public,
or conservation groups.
Environmentalists quickly mobilized, and together they convinced EPA to
reduce the permit from 10,000 acres to 2,500 acres, and open a public
comment period before any further use was considered.
More than 6,000 public
comments subsequently resulted including a letter signed by 55 conservation
groups. Beyond Pesticides, Agricultural Resources Center (ARC) and affiliated
organizations submitted both a press
release and public
comments to EPA to aid in this endeavor. EPA officials were impressed
by the response and in a letter to the groups cited "compelling feedback
from the public" as one of the primary reasons the Louisiana permit
For more information
contact: Patti Bright, (540) 235-5780, [email protected],
or Gavin Shire, (202) 452-1535, [email protected].