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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Water Regulation' Category


15
Jun

Take Action: Tell Congress to Save Our Oceans from Trump’s Executive Order

(Beyond Pesticides, June 15, 2020)  On May 7, President Trump issued an executive order (EO) purporting to ‚Äúpromote American seafood competitiveness and economic growth,‚ÄĚ while, in fact, permitting offshore aquaculture in federal waters with reduced environmental safeguards. Instead, we need stronger federal regulation in order to protect the environment and public health. This EO adds to the Trump Administration’s shameful record of dismantling environmental protections, failing to enforce those that do exist, undermining science, and weighing agrochemical and other industry interests over those of the public and the environment. The EO will further erode regulations that have governed the operation of so-called ‚Äúfish farms‚ÄĚ and open enormous marine areas to exploitation by this industry. Tell Congress to save our oceans. U.S. aquaculture is a $1.5 billion industry, with almost 3,000 operations. Regulation of aquaculture is shared by a number of federal, state, and local agencies. Much of the regulation is at the state and local level because each state and locality may regulate permitting based on zoning, water use, waste discharge, wildlife management, processing, and other aspects of aquaculture operations.  Trump’s EO reduces federal regulation by designating the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as the lead agency in the […]

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14
May

DDT Metabolite (DDE) and Other Banned Pesticides Found in Blood Sample of African American Women in Detroit

(Beyond Pesticides, May 14, 2020) Four banned organochlorine pesticides (OCP) are present in over 60% of a cohort of reproductive-age, black women in Detroit, according to a¬†study¬†published in¬†Environmental Research¬†by¬†Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH). OCPs are lipophilic (fat combining/dissolving), environmentally steadfast chemicals linked to harmful health effects. This study stresses the importance of monitoring pesticide accumulation, particularly regarding environmentally persistent chemicals and their metabolization via indirect exposure routes. Lead author Olivia Orta, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Epidemiology at BUSPH, highlights the significance of water monitoring‚ÄĒespecially in light of historically disproportionately high hazards for people of color (e.g., Flint, Michigan)‚ÄĒand testing sources prone to OCP contamination. She remarks, ‚ÄúThe sources that we identified as potential OCP correlates should be tested for pesticide contamination,[‚Ķ] especially drinking water.‚ÄĚ Environmental contaminants, like¬†organochlorine pesticides¬†(OCP), can persist in the environment decades after use stops, as OCPs have greater chemical stability and gradual attenuation. Minority populations are at¬†higher exposure risk¬†of environmental contaminants (i.e., pesticide) exposure that can catalyze adverse health and birth effects, especially in metropolitan areas. Although black women endure higher body burdens than other U.S. populations, there remains a lack of research surrounding the association. Boston University researchers enrolled […]

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06
May

Trump EPA Waives Requirement to Monitor Waterways for Hazardous Weedkiller

(Beyond Pesticides, May 6, 2020) The Trump Administration announced late last month that it is waiving a requirement that multinational chemical company Syngenta-Chemchina continue to monitor Midwest waterways for the presence of the weedkiller atrazine throughout 2020. While rationalized by the Administration as ‚Äúdue to the unanticipated impact of Covid-19,‚ÄĚ the move will instead put residents health at increased risk. Atrazine is one of 78 pesticides that has been linked to the development of respiratory ailments like wheeze. ‚ÄúThe public will now have no idea whether dangerous levels of atrazine are reaching rivers and streams throughout the Midwest. That‚Äôs absurd and reckless,‚ÄĚ said Nathan Donley, PhD a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. ‚ÄúSyngenta should suspend the sale and use of this extremely toxic pesticide until it can safely ensure it‚Äôs not polluting Corn Belt waterways.‚ÄĚ Syngenta, which merged with state-owned China Nation Chemical Corporation (Chemchina) in 2016, has been bound by EPA to monitor Midwestern waterways since a 2004 review by the agency. This is because atrazine is a potent groundwater contaminant. Just two years ago, an analysis by the Environmental Working Group found atrazine to be exceeding legal limits in drinking water for many Midwestern states. […]

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31
Jan

Trump Administration Hands Over Clean Water Standards to Agrichemical, Construction, and Mining Industry

(Beyond Pesticides, January 31, 2020)¬†In the latest of a long litany of destructive decisions by the Trump administration, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced on January 23 the establishment of a new weaker federal rule on protection of U.S. waterways, which replaces the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule that the agency repealed in September 2019. In an obeisant gesture to industrial interests ‚ÄĒ the agrichemical, construction, and mining sectors ‚ÄĒ Mr. Wheeler chose to announce the replacement rule, the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, at a Las Vegas National Association of Home Builders International Builders‚Äô Show. This decision will significantly weaken protections by drastically reducing the number of U.S. waterways and acreage of wetlands protected, and by jettisoning proscriptions on activities that threaten waterways from a variety of pollution harms. President Obama‚Äôs WOTUS, aka Clean Water Rule, has provided protections from pesticide runoff and other pollutants to millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of streams. According to Administrator Wheeler, ‚Äú‚ÄėAll states have their own protections for waters within their borders, and many regulate more broadly than the federal government. . . . Our new rule recognizes this relationship and strikes the proper […]

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12
Oct

Vermont Watershed Protected from Hazardous Pesticide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, October 12, 2018)¬†For the first time in its history, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) denied a permit to apply toxic pesticides to a local waterbody, according to reports from the regional nonprofit organization Toxics Action Center. The DEC decision responded to an application from the Town of Williston, VT to use the herbicide SePRO Sonar AS¬ģ on Lake Iroquois, a 237 acre spring-fed body of water used for public recreation, in order to control Eurasian watermilfoil. DEC ruled that use of the herbicide posed risks to the holistic integrity of the lake waters, the Champlain watershed, and surrounding ecology. Sonar contains the active ingredient fluridone, which studies have linked to endocrine disruption, kidney/liver damage and toxicity to fish/aquatic organisms. It has also been identified as a potent groundwater contaminant. With this background, fluridone use has been the subject of public opposition. The permit application submitted by Williston city officials identified $350,000 in costs to apply the pesticide over the next five years, with 3-4 applications scheduled each summer. Milfoil typically takes over shallow coastal waters, out competes native aquatic plants for space and sunlight, reduces oxygen levels and harms fish habitat. Milfoil, like other invasive plants, […]

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26
May

U.S. House of Representatives Votes to Rollback Waterway Protections

(Beyond Pesticides, May 26, 2017) On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a bill that would reverse an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirement to obtain a permit before spraying pesticides on or near waterways. The passage of HR 953,¬†The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act¬†(known by environmentalists as the ‚ÄúPoison Our Waters Act‚ÄĚ), is the latest update in a multi-year string of attempts to rollback commonsense protections for the public waterways all Americans use for swimming, fishing, and other forms of recreation. It will now move forward to be considered by the Republican-majority Senate, where it will most likely pass and be signed into law. HR 953, if signed into law, would reverse a 2009 decision¬†issued by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, in the case of National Cotton Council et al. v. EPA,¬†which held that pesticides applied to waterways should be considered pollutants under federal law and regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA), through National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. Prior to the decision, the EPA, under the Bush Administration, had allowed the weaker and more generalized standards under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to be followed. This allowed pesticides to be discharged […]

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21
Feb

Take Action: Bill Will Eliminate Permit Requirement to Spray Pesticides into Waterways

(Beyond Pesticides, February 21, 2016) The Agriculture Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill last week that will eliminate protections from toxic pesticides for the nation‚Äôs waterways. The bill now moves on to the full House for a vote and the public has an opportunity to let Representatives hear the concerns about weakening local protection of waterways from toxic pesticides.¬†HR 953,¬†The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act¬†(code for the sponsors and supporters as legislation to eliminate environmental protection of water quality), is the committee‚Äôs latest effort in a multi-year string of attempts to rollback common sense protections for the public waterways all Americans use for swimming, fishing, and other forms of recreation. The bill would repeal the Clean Water Act requirement that those who apply pesticides to waterways, with an exemption for farm use pesticides not directly deposited into waterways, obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Last May, at the height of fears over the Zika epidemic, the same Committee ushered through the same bill under another misleading name, The Zika Vector Control Act. Pensive lawmakers and the public saw through the ruse, and the bill was defeated. But,¬†like previous iterations, including the 2015 Sensible Environmental […]

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31
Jan

Judge Rules Against Monsanto, Allows California to List Glyphosate Products as Cancer Causing

(Beyond Pesticides, January 31, 2017) A tentative ruling last week by Fresno County Superior Court Judge Kristi Culver Kapetan moves California closer to listing glyphosate (Roundup) as a carcinogen under the state‚Äôs Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65). Monsanto, a leading manufacturer of glyphosate under its Roundup brand, sued California to stop the listing, as it would require cancer warning labels be placed on its end-use product. The company indicates it will challenge the tentative ruling. California‚Äôs proposed to list glyphosate as a carcinogen¬†after a 2015 determination of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a United Nations body under the World Health Organization, that the chemical is a cancer-causing agent for humans based on laboratory studies. Monsanto refutes these claims, and since the determination has worked directly, and through proxy organizations, to discredit and attack IARC, as well as individual scientists that have participated in its decision-making process. Shortly after IARC‚Äôs Monograph on glyphosate, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), a Monsanto-supported group, released a report dismissing glyphosate‚Äôs link to cancer. In October of last year, the U.S. House of Representatives‚Äô Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, led by Rep. Jason Chaffetz […]

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03
Jan

Herbicide Atrazine Affects Estuarine Phytoplankton Productivity, Threatens Aquatic Life

(Beyond Pesticides, January 3, 2017)¬† A study published in December 2016 in Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, entitled¬†The Effect of Atrazine on Louisiana Gulf Coast Estuarine Phytoplankton, finds that phytoplankton in estuaries in close proximity to agricultural operations are less productive than phytoplankton in an uncontaminated environment. The study examines three different estuaries of the Mississippi river in Louisiana and also evaluates microcosms with different concentrations of atrazine.¬†Phytoplankton, incredibly important to estuary ecosystems and aquatic life, are an integral part of the aquatic food web and ultimately critical to the wild seafood market. As photosynthetic microorganisms, phytoplankton harness the sun‚Äôs energy for metabolism and create as a byproduct of photosynthesis dissolved oxygen, which oxygen-breathing sea life require. For the study, the researchers created microcosms, or large containers that are able to closely mimic ecosystems, so that they can observe the effects of independent variables.¬†On average, phytoplankton in the microcosms are less productive at producing chlorophyll a in the presence of atrazine.¬†The microcosm study design is important because it is difficult to separate and measure the effects of chemicals like atrazine in the environment, given the range of potential causes of phytoplankton decline. A variety of factors, like freshwater discharge rates, precipitation, […]

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18
Oct

Pesticide Restrictions in Wisconsin Fail to Protect Groundwater Adequately

(Beyond Pesticides, October 18, 2016) A Wisconsin family is speaking out against groundwater contamination after their son fell ill two years ago, prompting them to test their well water. The test results found the water contaminated with fertilizers and pesticides, most notably the weed killer atrazine, which has been banned in their area for 20 years. Atrazine has been registered for use since 1958. Although many residential turf grass uses of the chemical have been eliminated voluntarily, homeowner uses do persist. The chemical has been linked to human health impacts such as childhood cancer, and rare birth defects, including gastroschisis, and choanal atresia. According to Minnpost, in the spring of 2014, Jacob, son of Doug and Dawn Reeves, fell mysteriously ill. His body became swollen and he developed an unusual rash. He was finally diagnosed with juvenile dermatomyositis, a rare inflammatory disease that affects the muscles, skin and blood vessels. The cause of the disease is unknown, so the Reeves family began their own hunt as to why Jacob became sick. When they received the test results from Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, it showed that their well contained atrazine at twice the state and federal drinking water health standard. […]

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14
Sep

Legacy Contaminants Found in Swallow Eggs around the Great Lakes

(Beyond Pesticides, September 14, 2016) According to a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), high concentrations of dioxins and furans have been detected in tree swallow eggs collected near several sites around the Great Lakes. Other chemicals detected include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which were at background levels. The study is part of efforts to clean up a toxic chemical legacy around the Great Lakes, and the researchers believe their results are critical to regulators to assess ‚Äúbird or animal deformity or reproductive problems‚ÄĚ The study, ‚ÄúConcentrations and spatial patterns of organic contaminants in tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) eggs at United States and binational Great Lakes Areas of Concern, 2010‚ÄĒ2015,‚ÄĚ used tree swallows to quantify current exposure to organic contaminants across all five Great Lakes including 59 sites within 27 ¬†Areas of Concern (AOCs) ¬†and 10 nearby ¬†locations. The Great Lakes Areas of Concern refers to a U.S.-Canada ¬†Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement ¬†(Annex 1 of the 2012 Protocol) that ¬†defines AOCs as “geographic areas designated by the Parties where significant ¬†impairment of beneficial uses ¬†has occurred as a result of human activities at the local level.” An AOC is a location that has […]

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27
Jan

Clean Water Protections In Trouble Again In the Senate

(Beyond Pesticides, January 27, 2016) Last week the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee added an amendment to the Sportsman Act of 2015 that would remove important protections from pesticides sprayed into our nation‚Äôs waterways. After years of failed attempts to pass a version of the amendment as a stand-alone bill called the ‚ÄúSensible Environmental Protection Act,‚ÄĚ the latest attack against clean water was put forth by Senator Deb Fisher (R-NE), and passed by a committee vote of 12-8. It now moves to the Senate floor in a piece of bipartisan legislation. This amendment would reverse a 2009 federal court decision in National Cotton Council v. EPA that directed EPA to require permits from applicators who spray over ‚Äúnavigable waters,‚ÄĚ as outlined in the Clean Water Act (CWA). The bill‚Äôs proponents claim that the need for water permits is duplicative, given that pesticide applicators also comply with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the law that requires applicators to follow instructions on pesticide labels. However, the fact is that CWA permits let authorities know what is sprayed and when it is sprayed, so that the public may know what chemicals are used in their waterways and the potential […]

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09
Nov

USDA Continues to Suppress Independent Science on Bee-Killing Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, November 09, 2015) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cancelled a webinar on the presence of neonicotinoids in waterways in the Prairie Pothole region, according to the government watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). PEER states that the cancellation is ‚Äúanother example of USDA interfering with the release of new science-based information about adverse effects linked to ¬†neonicotinoid (neonics) pesticides.‚ÄĚ As a result, PEER continues, ‚ÄúGrowing ecological risks posed by the most widely used insecticides in North America will likely not be considered in developing USDA policies, planning or management practices.‚ÄĚ Neonicotinoids are a controversial class of chemicals that have been linked to the global bee decline by a rapidly growing body of scientific literature. A webinar, titled Pesticides and Potholes: Understanding the Risks of Neonicotinoid Insecticides to Aquatic Ecosystems in Prairie Canada and Beyond, ¬†was supposed to take place June 24, 2014, according to PEER. Instead, the online event was cancelled by Wayne Honeycutt, Ph.D., the Deputy Chief for Science and Technology at USDA‚Äôs Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The online event would have featured Christy Morrissey, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, School of Environment and Sustainability, whose research includes […]

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05
Jun

Congress Continues Attacks on Clean Water Act Protections

(Beyond Pesticides, June 05, 2015) A new federal bill was introduced Wednesday that, if passed, would undermine the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‚Äôs (EPA) authority to issue Clean Water Act permits for pesticide spraying over waterways. Titled the Sensible Environmental Protection Act ¬†and introduced by Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo), this new bill would reverse a 2009 federal court decision in National Cotton Council v. EPA that directed EPA to require permits from applicators who spray over ‚Äúnavigable waters,‚ÄĚ as outlined in the Clean Water Act (CWA). The bill‚Äôs authors claim that the need for water permits is duplicative, given that pesticide applicators also comply with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the law that requires applicators to follow instructions on pesticide labels. “This issue is a prime example of an unnecessary, duplicative federal regulation impacting a variety of stakeholders in Idaho and across the nation that must be fixed,” Senator Crapo said in a statement. ¬†“Our rural communities are already under a substantial amount of financial strain and regulatory pressure and are looking to Congress for much-needed relief.” Contrary to ¬†Senator ¬†Crapo‚Äôs claims, the ¬†CWA permit serves as a valuable tool that lets authorities know […]

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16
Apr

Agricultural Insecticides Exceed Regulatory Limits in Surface Water on Global Scale

(Beyond Pesticides, April 16, 2015) According to a new study, regulatory limits for insecticides are exceeded in over half of contaminated water samples collected from around the world. The study was based on a review of more than 800 studies conducted in 73 countries over the past five decades and is the first to evaluate the exposure of surface waters to particularly toxic agricultural insecticides on a global scale. Based on these results, the researchers ultimately conclude that ‚Äúfundamental revisions of current regulatory procedures and pesticide application practices are needed to reverse the global environmental impacts of agro-chemical based high-intensity agriculture.” The analysis, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and titled “Agricultural insecticides threaten surface waters at the global scale,” was led by Sebastian Stehle, Ph.D., and Ralf Schulz, Ph.D, at the Institute for Environmental Sciences at University Koblenz-Landau in Germany. The researchers looked at 28 insecticides, the majority of which are currently approved in the United States and the European Union, represent all major insecticide classes, and are important for global agriculture in terms of annual application rates. While they found that just 2.6 percent of the 2,500 aquatic sites contained measurable levels of insecticides, […]

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24
Mar

Yet Again, Congress Attacks Clean Water Act Protections

(Beyond Pesticides, March 24, 2015) Last week, to the dismay of health and environmental advocates, the House Agriculture Committee unanimously passed the latest version of the inaccurately titled ‚ÄúReducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2015‚ÄĚ (H.R. 897), which would nullify regulations that require pesticide applicators to apply for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits under the Clean Water Act (CWA) before applying pesticides on or near surface waters. The legislation also amends the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by stating that no permit shall be required for the use of a pesticide that is registered under FIFRA. Generally, it means that pesticide applicators can discharge pesticides into waterways with no EPA oversight under the the standards of the CWA and the permitting process, which takes into account local conditions that are not addressed under FIFRA. The ¬†CWA permit lets authorities know what is sprayed and when it is sprayed, so that the public may know what chemicals are used in their waterways and the potential dangers to sensitive aquatic ecosystems. Existing pesticide regulations under FIFRA do not achieve these protections and, contrary to the assertions made by supporters of the bill, most agricultural pesticide applications are exempt from […]

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23
Sep

Crops Take Up Pesticides, Drugs from Treated Wastewater Irrigation

(Beyond Pesticides, September 23, 2014) A new study finds that the increasingly common use of treated wastewater on food crops can result in contamination from chemicals like DEET, triclosan, and pharmaceutical drugs. The study, titled ‚ÄúTreated Wastewater Irrigation: Uptake of Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products by Common Vegetables under Field Conditions‚ÄĚ and published in Environmental Science & Technology, ¬†measures levels of 19 commonly occurring pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) in eight ¬†types of vegetables irrigated with treated wastewater under field conditions. The analytes studied include compounds that are commonly detected in treated wastewater, including 16 pharmaceuticals (acetaminophen, caffeine, meprobamate, atenolol, trimethoprim, carbamazepine, diazepam, gemfibrozil, and primidone) and three ¬†personal care products (DEET, triclosan, and triclocarban). The vegetable species included in the ¬†study are carrot, celery, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, cucumber, bell pepper, and tomato, which were included because they are often consumed raw by people and are also among the most important cash crops in arid and semi-arid regions, such as southern California, where there has been a rapid increase in irrigation with treated wastewater. The study points to water shortages in many parts of the world and the U.S. as factors contributing to the increase in use of recycled […]

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12
Sep

Levels of Pesticides Still a Concern for Aquatic Life in U.S. Rivers and Streams

(Beyond Pesticides, September 12, 2014) A new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report finds that levels of pesticides continue to be a concern for aquatic life in many of the Nation‚Äôs rivers and streams in agricultural and urban areas. The study, which documents pesticide levels in U.S. waterways for two decades (1992-2011), finds pesticides and their breakdown products in U.S. streams more than 90 percent of the time. Known pesticide water contaminants, such as atrazine, metolachlor, and simazine, continue to be detected in streams more than 50 percent of the time, with fipronil being the pesticide most frequently found at levels of potential concern for aquatic organisms in urban streams. According to the USGS report, ‚ÄúAn Overview Comparing Results from Two Decades of Monitoring for Pesticides in the Nation‚Äôs Streams and Rivers, 1992‚ÄĒ2001 and 2002‚ÄĒ2011,‚ÄĚ featured in the journal, Environmental Science and Technology and part of the agency‚Äôs ongoing National Water-Quality Assessment Program, the proportion of streams with one or more pesticides that exceed an aquatic-life benchmark (or guideline) is similar between the two decades for streams and rivers draining agricultural and mixed-land use areas, but much greater during the 2002-2011 for streams draining urban areas. During both decades, one or […]

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18
Aug

Following Lawsuit, EPA Restores Stream Buffers to Protect Salmon from Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, August 18, 2014) In a victory for environmental groups, conservationists, and fishing groups, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a settlement last Wednesday to restore no-spray buffer zones around waterways to protect imperiled salmon and steelhead from five toxic pesticides. ¬† An initial agreement was reached in June, when it underwent public comment, and was ultimately filed August 13 without any substantive changes. The settlement follows litigation filed by Earthjustice, representing the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, and Defenders of Wildlife, back in 2010 that called for EPA adoption of reasonable fish protections from the insecticides. The buffers apply to salmon habitat throughout California, Oregon, and Washington to prohibit aerial spraying of broad-spectrum pesticides diazinon, chlorpyrifos, malathion, carbaryl, and methomyl within 300 feet of salmon habitat and prohibit ground-based applications within 60 feet. ‚ÄúPoisoning salmon rivers puts our people out of work while creating an unnecessary and expensive public health hazard,‚ÄĚ said Glen Spain of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen‚Äôs Associations, a West Coast commercial fishing industry trade association and co-plaintiff. ‚ÄúThis agreement helps the coastal and inland communities that depend on salmon for their livelihoods and provides […]

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04
Aug

House Votes to Roll Back Protections from Pesticides Put in Nation’s Waters

(Beyond Pesticides, August 4, 2014) The Clean Water Act (CWA) provides critical safeguards for our nation‚Äôs waterways, with the goal of fishable and swimmable waters for all residents of the United States. Last Thursday, the House of Representatives voted to strip away an important part of these protections concerning pesticides applied directly to U.S. waters. The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2013 (HR 935) would reverse a 2009 ruling in National Cotton Council v. EPA that requires CWA permits for pesticide users who spray over waterways. After failing in a vote under a suspension of the rules last Monday, the House took the bill back up and passed it 267-161. “This is a good bill that reduces burdensome regulations without rolling back any environmental safeguards,‚ÄĚ said U.S. Representative Bob Gibbs (R-OH), the bill’s sponsor, to The Hill. Unfortunately, Rep. Gibb‚Äôs statement couldn‚Äôt be farther from the truth. Under the deceptive title of ‚ÄúReducing Regulatory Burdens,‚ÄĚ this bill would instead eliminate critical CWA protections. “This legislation will undermine one of our nation’s most successful environmental laws, the Clean Water Act, in limiting the potential contamination of our nation’s waters by pesticides. All this would do is make it harder to locate […]

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07
Jul

Intersex Fish in Pennsylvania Watersheds Linked to Agricultural Run-off of Endocrine Disruptors

(Beyond Pesticides, July 7, 2014) A study led by the U.S. Geological Service (USGS) finds intersex fish in three watersheds of Pennsylvania and shows strong connections between these occurrences and increased pollution in waterways from endocrine-disrupting chemicals. The study, Reproductive Health Indicators of Fish from Pennsylvania Watersheds: Associations with Chemicals of Emerging Concern, examined three species of fish in three separate watersheds of Pennsylvania to assess whether characteristics caused by hormones and hormone-mimicking compounds, such as immature eggs in male fish, were present. In aquatic environments, the presence of these intersex characteristics is widely used as a biomarker for assessing exposure to estrogenic chemicals, as well as anti-androgenic chemicals which inhibit development of male characteristics. Male smallmouth bass from all sites sampled had immature eggs in their testes; prevalence was lowest in the Ohio drainage, intermediate in the Delaware and highest in the Susquehanna. While these findings were disturbing in and of themselves, the study was also able to draw a connection to the increased presence of intersex characteristics and areas of high agricultural use. ‚ÄúThe prevalence and severity of the immature eggs in smallmouth bass corresponded with the percent of agricultural land use in the watershed above the collection […]

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06
Jun

EPA Agrees to Greater Protection of Salmon from Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, June 6, 2014) On June 4, ¬†after a two year dispute between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a coalition of conservation organizations and fishing groups, an agreement ¬†was finally reached to set reasonable no-spray buffer zones to protect salmon from five harmful insecticides: diazinon, chlorpyrifos, malathion, carbaryl, and methomyl. These buffer zones protect salmon habitat by stopping aerial spraying of pesticides within 300 feet, and ground based spraying within 60 feet of salmon supporting waters. According to the agreement, it also provides detailed notifications to state regulators, pesticide applicators, farmers and the public about the mandatory no-spray buffer zones. These stipulations will remain in place until the National Marine Fisheries Service has completed their analysis of the impacts of those five pesticides. ¬†Then, once the analysis is completed, EPA will execute permanent protections based on their findings. EPA is required by law under the Endangered Species Act to protect what little salmon are left on the Pacific Coast. Salmon are a ¬†critical indicator of how well we are maintaining both marine and terrestrial ecosystems, because their habitats are in streams, lakes, rivers, estuaries and the ocean. The fish ¬†are extremely sensitive to changes in water quality, and […]

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28
May

Report Finds Pesticide Residues in Hawaii’s Waterways

(Beyond Pesticides, May 28, 2014) A statewide pilot pesticide sampling project has found over 20 different types of pesticides in Hawaiian waterways, some of which are no longer registered for use in Hawaii. State officials believe the pesticides, many detected in urban areas, are from residential and golf course applications. These preliminary findings help highlight the need for local oversight of pesticide use, currently a controversial issue in the state. Conducted in partnership with the Hawaiian Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Hawaiian Department of Health, the survey-study finds herbicides like glyphosate (Roundup) and atrazine, as well as a fungicide that is no longer registered for use in the state, contaminating the state‚Äôs waterways. The study measured pesticides in surface waters and in sediment at multiple locations in Hawaii. 25 herbicides, 11 insecticides and 6 fungicides were detected, with atrazine the most commonly found. This pilot survey responds to growing community concerns about the impacts of pesticides on local communities and ecosystems, and provides preliminary information on pesticide residues in state waterways. Recently, Kauai County passed an ordinance ‚ÄĒOrdinance 960‚ÄĒ ¬†that requires public disclosure of pesticides used and the location of genetically engineered (GE) crops, as […]

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