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Take Action: Demand EPA and NMFS Protect Endangered Fish from Harmful Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, August 19, 2008) Three toxic pesticides used heavily in the United States — chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion — harm children and farmworkers, poison wildlife, and taint food and drinking water, and despite well-documented hazards, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows homeowners, farmers and others to use these poisons in ways that harm salmon and steelhead. Coupled with public pressure, a recent scientific analysis from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) could force EPA to adopt new restrictions on the use of these pesticides in the Pacific Northwest and California.

In a draft study – called a “biological opinion” – released on July 31, 2008, NMFS concluded that chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion are contaminating rivers and streams jeopardizing protected salmon and steelhead.

Please urge NMFS and EPA to adopt strong measures to protect Pacific salmon from these poisons. It is their responsibility under the Endangered Species Act.

Please send an email addressed to both:
Jim Lecky
Director of Office of Protected Resources, NMFS
[email protected]

James Gulliford
Assistant Administrator, US EPA Headquarters
[email protected]

You can be sure that chemical companies are working to ensure the unabated use of their products. Make sure the voice of the public is heard. Harmful pesticides must be kept out of our waters! We all need clean water to survive. To learn more, read the draft biological opinion.

There is no formal comment period, but comments need to be in by Oct. 15 to be considered. Please write in as soon as possible.

Jim Lecky
Director of Office of Protected Resources, NMFS
James Gulliford
Assistant Administrator, US EPA Headquarters

Dear Director Lecky and Assistant Administrator Gulliford,

I am encouraged by the scientific basis of the National Marine Fisheries Service’s recent draft biological opinion evaluating the impacts of three pesticides — chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion — on salmon and steelhead in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. I applaud NMFS for its thorough analysis and scientifically sound conclusion that these three pesticides are “jeopardizing” salmon survival and recovery.

NMFS and EPA must now implement the strong measures necessary to protect salmon and steelhead from these pesticides. The best science available demonstrates that chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion are simply too dangerous to be used near rivers and streams that serve as habitat for these threatened and endangered fish.

Homeowners and farmers alike deserve clarity on how they can manage pests without harming a Northwest icon, the Pacific salmon. Chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion are antiquated pesticides that pose unreasonable risks to both humans and wildlife and should not be used near salmon and steelhead habitat.

I’m pleased to see that NMFS has taken the first step toward getting these chemicals out of our waterways and I urge the agencies to follow through with strong protective measures.




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