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EPA to Stop Consulting With Experts On Effects of Pesticides on Wildlife (2/2/04)
(Beyond Pesticides, February 2, 2004)
The Bush administration will issue regulations Friday to cut wildlife agencies out of the loop on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decisions regarding pesticide use, a move that threatens endangered species and their habitat. Currently, the EPA must consult with the federal fish and wildlife agencies to assess the effect of new pesticide use on endangered wildlife prior to approving their use. The new regulations eliminate that requirement, leaving endangered wildlife impact assessments up to the EPA, which has a horrible track record of protecting species from the harmful effects of pesticides.

"The President's policy benefits the chemical industry at the expense of the environment," said Defenders of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen. "It is another example of Americans paying the price as the President bows to the wishes of industry."

The issuance of the regulations comes on the heels of a sweeping court ruling that will put in place no-spray buffers along salmon streams to protect salmon from pesticides. The buffers will remain in place until EPA completes its consultation with National Marine Fisheries Service on the impacts of pesticides on salmon.

"These rules, if enacted, are a huge step backwards of the regions salmon recovery efforts. We cannot sit back and watch salmon be poisoned at the whim of the current administration," said Aimee Code of NCAP.

The new regulations will do the following:

  • shut fish and wildlife experts out of endangered species protection by allowing EPA to assess the impacts of pesticides on endangered species alone
  • allow outdated science to be the basis for determining how endangered species should be protected from pesticides
  • give the chemical industry special participation rights not shared by the public.

EPA has repeatedly failed to protect endangered species such as salmon. For example, EPA continues to authorize use of pesticides such as diazinon that fish and wildlife agencies have found can harm endangered species.

"Pollution and pesticides are among the greatest threats to wildlife and habitat," said Patti Goldman of Earthjustice. "The Bush administration's policy weakens long-standing regulations that protect species and will only lead to more harmful chemicals in our environment."