Time To Comment on Controversial Endangered Species Act Rule Changes
(from March 10, 2003)
EPA announced March 10, 2003 that it is extending the comment period allotted for the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on proposed controversial changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulations. First announced in the January 27 edition of the Daily News, the proposed rule will dramatically increase EPA's ability to determine pesticide effects on species listed as endangered. The purposed rule, as published in the Federal Register on January 24, 2003, 68 FR 3785-3795, attempts to ease the regulatory burden EPA faces when assessing pesticides risks to endangered species.
The proposed rule has been harshly criticized by environmentalists as an attempt to legitimize EPA's long standing resistance to implementing provisions of the ESA. Most hotly contested is Section 7 of ESA, which requires all federal agencies to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and National Marine Fisheries Services (collectively the "Services") over any action that may affect a listed endangered species. Since the promulgation of ESA, EPA has repeatedly neglected to consult on the issue of pesticides.
Since the notice was published in January, major environmental groups including National Audubon Society, American Bird Conservancy, Sierra Club, and Beyond Pesticides have launched a massive effort to prevent EPA from weakening America's most protective wildlife law. Jessica Lunsford, project coordinator for Beyond Pesticides, said, "EPA has a horrendous track record complying with the Endangered Species Act. If anything, the agency's lack of compliance with the Act requires more oversight, not less."
The comment period, now ending March 24, 2003, is still far short of the 90 days requested by concerned environmental and conservation groups. The groups contend that the EPA proposal constitutes a clear attack on the Endangered Species Act. This proposal, if passed, would set a dangerous precedent for other federal agency compliance with section 7 of the ESA and potentially other parts of the Act that could impact state and industry compliance
Comments on this proposed
regulation can be sent by e-mail to [email protected],
Attention: Docket ID Number OPP-2003-0010 or by mail to:
Public Information and Records Integrity Branch (PIRIB)
Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP)
Environmental Protection Agency (7502C)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.
Washington, DC 20460-0001
Attention: Docket ID Number OPP-2003-0010