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Group Plans to Sue Agencies over Threatened Amphibian

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, December 16, 2010)The Center for Biological Diversity notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) December 15 of its intent to sue the agencies for failing to study and act on threats posed by more than 60 pesticides to the threatened California red-legged frog. A 2006 legal settlement secured by the Center required the EPA to assess the impacts of pesticides on the frog, then consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) under the Endangered Species Act to address those impacts, by 2009. The completed assessments were submitted to the Wildlife Service between March 2007 and October 2009. Although EPA determined that 64 registered pesticides are likely to harm the frogs, the Service has not completed any consultations or adopted protective measures. “The EPA acknowledges that scores of pesticides may be dangerous to California’s rare red-legged frogs, but nothing’s been done about it,” said Jeff Miller, a conservation advocate with the Center. “This three-year delay violates the Endangered Species Act and jeopardizes the future of the largest native frog in California.” Historically abundant throughout California, red-legged frogs have declined in numbers over 90 percent and have disappeared from 70 percent […]

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EPA Sued to Enforce Endangered Salmon Protections

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, December 1, 2010) Several fishing and environmental conservation groups are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to limit the use of six agricultural pesticides to protect salmon. Restrictions on the use of six pesticides in Oregon, Washington and California shown to harm endangered salmon and steelhead, were ordered after a court found that EPA violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by failing to restrict the pesticides from entering salmon habitat. However EPA has failed to act to restrict the pesticides. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington is the fourth lawsuit the plainstiffs -Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations; Institute for Fisheries Resources and Defenders of Wildlife- brought against the EPA to restrict the pesticides diazinon, malathion, chlorpyrifos, carbaryl, carbofuran and methomyl in streams of endangered salmon and steelhead. The plaintiffs seek a judgment declaring that EPA’s failure to implement the organophosphate (OP) and carbamate biological opinions issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) violates the ESA, and a judgment declaring that EPA is taking listed salmonids in violation of the ESA. The lawsuit seeks an order vacating and enjoining EPA’s authorization of the uses of […]

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Third Biological Opinion Finds Pesticides Jeopardize Endangered Species

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, September 8, 2010) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has received a new Biological Opinion from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) with a finding that the application of products containing any of 12 organophosphate (OP) pesticides are likely to jeopardize federally listed threatened or endangered Pacific salmon and steelhead and their designated critical habitat. The 12 OPs addressed in this Biological Opinion, issued under the Endangered Species Act, are azinphos-methyl, bensulide, dimethoate, disulfoton, ethoprop, fenamiphos, methamidophos, methidathion, methyl parathion, naled, phorate, and phosmet. This opinion concludes that EPA’s registration of pesticides containing bensulide, dimethoate, ethoprop, methidathion, naled, phorate, and phosmet are each likely to jeopardize the continued existence of one or more of the 28 endangered and threatened Pacific salmonids and are each likely to destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat for one or more of the 28 threatened and endangered salmonids. NMFS reached this conclusion because predicted concentrations of these seven pesticides in salmonid habitats, particularly in floodplain habitats, are likely to cause adverse effects to at least one listed Pacific salmonids including significant reductions in growth or survival. EPA’s registration of bensulide, dimethoate, ethoprop, methidathion, naled, phorate, and phosmet is also likely to result […]

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Group Calls on Bayer to Withdraw Dangerous Pesticides

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, January 13, 2010)The Coalition Against Bayer Dangers, based in Germany, is urging the multinational company Bayer to withdraw its most dangerous pesticides from the world market. The network specially is calling on Bayer to end sales of all products that contain active ingredients in the highest acute toxicity Class 1 of the World Health Organization (WHO) classification of pesticides. Bayer is the world market leader in sales of pesticides, many of which account for pollution and poisonings all over the world. The company acknowledges that “crop protection products may not always be used correctly under certain circumstances in some Third World countries.” Already in its 1995 Annual Report Bayer promised to “replace products with the Classification 1 of the World Health Organization with products of lower toxicity.” Public health advocates say that safe use of Class 1 (highest acute toxicity) pesticides is not possible, especially in countries where, because of poverty, illiteracy and other social conditions, as well as tropical climatic conditions, do not permit the wearing of protective gear. WHO estimates the number of people poisoned annually at three to 25 million. At least 40,000 people are killed accidentally by pesticides every year. The estimated number of […]

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Multinationals Pushing Out Organic Fair Trade Coffee Production in Latin America

Friday, January 8th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, January 8, 2010) Market forces driven by multinational corporations with increased market share and depressed payments for organic and fair trade coffee is threatening the organic coffee industry in Latin America. This is reversing successful efforts to improve worker and environmental protection in the production of a crop that was introduced to Latin America by Jesuit monks three hundred years ago. According to a recent Time Magazine article coffee has grown to a $70 billion a year industry, making coffee the second most valuable traded commodity after oil. Yet, small growers remain mired in poverty, where working conditions can be miserable; laboring on dangerously steep mountain sides, being exposed to dangerous pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and often going hungry for months out of the year. Organic and fair trade certified production provided a socially just response to this reality. A decade ago when coffee prices were at an all time low, many growers switched to organic for the premium price they could receive. A new article in the Christian Science Monitor highlights the unfortunate trend of growers switching back to conventional chemical-intensive methods. The Center for Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education in Costa Rica (CATIE) estimates that […]

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Honeybees Vanish, Threatening Crops and Livelihoods

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

(Beyond Pesticides, March 1, 2007) In 24 states throughout the country, beekeepers have been shocked to find that bees have been inexplicably disappearing at an alarming rate, according to an article in the New York Times last week. This loss of honeybees threatens not only beekeeper livelihoods but also the production of numerous crops, including California almonds, one of the nation’s most profitable crops. Although the reasons for the honeybee disappearances are unknown, pesticides may be one of the culprits. “I have never seen anything like it,” David Bradshaw, a California beekeeper, said. “Box after box after box are just empty. There’s nobody home.” Last month he discovered that half of his 100 million bees were missing. Beekeepers have fought regional bee crises before, but this is the first national affliction. Bees are flying off in search of pollen and nectar and simply never returning to their colonies. And nobody knows why. Researchers say the bees are presumably dying in the fields, perhaps becoming exhausted or simply disoriented and eventually falling victim to the cold. As researchers scramble to find answers to the syndrome they have decided to call “colony collapse disorder,” growers are becoming openly nervous about the capability […]

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