Daily News Archive

Endangered Species At Risk Due to Pesticide Use
(Beyond Pesticides, July 30, 2004) According to the L.A. Times, pesticide use is putting many endangered species in jeopardy. The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) released a report on July 29 ,2004 that federal officials are failing to protect these endangered species as they continue to allow the use of these harmful pesticides.

The report stated that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "displays a stunning lack of initiative in complying with the Endangered Species Act" and "has shown reckless disregard for the impact of its pesticide regulation program on wildlife, and most importantly, endangered species." The CBD has repeatedly sued the government in order to secure more stringent protections for endangered animals and plants.

The concerns of the CBD are mirrored by many of the scientists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The CBD concluded in its report that "about 375 animals and plants - nearly one-third of the species listed under the Endangered Species Act - are exposed to and potentially harmed by pesticides." More than two billion pounds of chemicals are applied to U.S. crops, lawns, and gardens. It is not surprising that some of these chemicals end up in environments that endangered species call their home.

There is a history of pesticides causing harm to endangered species. Bald eagles, peregrine falcons, pelicans and other birds nearly went extinct due to the pesticide DDT which weakened the birds' eggs. Although many endangered species die from pesticide poisoning, there are also subtle problems caused by the low exposures common in the environment today. On July 26, 2004 EPA officials said that they would now undertake a "comprehensive ecological effects evaluation" for each pesticide they register for use, but that they are "strengthening review of potential risks to federally listed threatened and
endangered species" and would review the CBD's findings. Everett Wilson, chief of environmental quality at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that even though pesticides are meant to be toxic "when they are applied to habitats where endangered species, or any non-target species, exist, and if the species is sensitive to the pesticide, it can have detrimental effects."

Pesticides and endangered species have been a controversial issue for some time now. The Bush Administration announced on July 29, 2004 that the EPA will no longer have to consult other federal agencies for approval of pesticdes that may be harmful to plants or animal protected under the Endangered Species Act. For more infromantion on this see the yahoo.com story.

Take Action: Contact Mr. Michael Leavitt, EPA Administrator, by e-mail: [email protected], phone: 202-564-4711, or fax: 202-501-1470 to express your views on EPA's compliance with the Endangered Species Act, and urge action to protect the integrity of this important law.