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Updated on January 12, 2007
Faced With Potential Lawsuit Over Lax Pesticide Regulation
(Beyond Pesticides, January 12, 2007) The national nonprofit organization, the Center for Biological Diversity, filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this Tuesday due to alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act. According to the San Francisco based organization, inadequate pesticide regulations are putting at least 11 San Francisco Bay Area endangered species in jeopardy.
Although EPA is required under the Endangered Species Act to consult the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) whenever considering pesticides for registration or approval, they have failed to consult FWS on the effects on the species in question.
'The EPA has failed to comply with even the basic requirements of the Endangered Species Act in registering and approving uses of pesticides known to poison Bay Area endangered species,” said Jeff Miller, the Center’s Bay Area wildlands coordinator. “Given the known significant effects on wildlife and the EPA’s own acknowledgments regarding pesticide use exceeding levels of concern for endangered species, pesticide restrictions to protect our most endangered species are long overdue.”
Not including home and commercial use, 61 million pounds of pesticides were applied in Bay Area counties from 1999 to 2005. Data from the U.S. Geological Survey show the presence of 60 different types of pesticide active ingredients in or next to the habitats of 11 endangered species. These species include the California tiger salamander, the San Joaquin kit fox, and the Bay checkerspot butterfly. An additional 19 endangered species may also be harmed by pesticide use in the region.
"These are all incredibly vulnerable species," Miller said. "None of these are species we should allow poisons to be getting into their habitat."
Some of the pesticides found in the Bay Area are atrazine, which is both a neurotoxin and carcinogen and is toxic to fish; diazinon, which is highly toxic to bees and birds, is a mutagen and damages the liver; chlopyrifos, a cholinesterase inhibitor that is also toxic to aquatic organisms, birds, and domestic animals; dieldrin, a carcinogen that is acutely toxic to a variety of aquatic life and amphibians; and DDT.
Under the Bush administration, EPA has been sidestepping the Endangered Species Act and has tried to make it easier for pesticide manufacturers to push through regulations. In 2004 EPA proposed regulations that would remove input from wildlife experts when determining the impact of pesticides on endangered species, and in November they declared that pesticides are not pollutants if applied directly to rivers and lakes. In fact, last year the Center for Biological Diversity released another report dealing with EPA’s inaptitude at protecting endangered species and regulating pesticides.
EPA has 60 days to reply to the notice of intent before the Center files a federal suit.
Source: Palo Alto Daily News
ACTION: Let EPA know you disapprove of lax pesticide regulations
that put our endangered species, ecosystems, and public health in danger
by contacting EPA administrator Stephen Johnson ([email protected],
202-564-4700 (office), 202-501-1450 (fax)).