Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Contact

Press Release

EPA Proposes Reforms to Assess New Pesticides’ Harms to Endangered Species

WASHINGTON -

The Environmental Protection Agency’s pesticide office announced new policies today designed to address the agency’s multi-decade failure to assess harms to endangered species before approving new pesticides.

For decades the EPA has failed to comply with the Endangered Species Act’s clear requirement that the agency consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop protective measures for endangered species before registering new pesticides.

As a result, the agency has approved hundreds of pesticides, including highly toxic neonicotinoid pesticides, that it has known can harm and kill endangered species, including rusty patched bumblebees, northern long-eared bats and whooping cranes.

“We hope these first steps mark the beginning of the end of the EPA’s reckless fast-track approvals of dangerous pesticides,” said Brett Hartl, the Center for Biological Diversity’s government affairs director. “Now that the EPA has stopped digging itself deeper into a hole, it must make sure that real on-the-ground conservation measures are put in place to protect endangered species and the places they live from harmful pesticides.”

Today’s announcement means that the EPA will initiate formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or National Marine Fisheries Service before granting a registration for a new active ingredient.

The EPA will also attempt to consider the severity of the likely harms from new active ingredients and require additional protective measures for any pesticide products to minimize any incidental take — harm, injury or death — to listed species that could result.

Finally, the EPA may also require pesticides applicators to use the “Bulletins Live! Two” online system, which puts geographic restrictions on pesticide use to protect endangered species.

However, until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or National Marine Fisheries Service completes any formal consultations requested by the EPA, few conservation measures can be fully enacted to get endangered species back on the road to recovery.

The Fish and Wildlife Service, in particular, has been unable to complete a biological opinion on pesticides in a timely manner despite Congress allocating resources specifically for this purpose.

“These commonsense reforms make clear that pesticides should no longer be rubber-stamped regardless of the damage they wreak,” said Hartl. “But the Biden EPA and Fish and Wildlife Service both have a lot more work to do if they truly want to significantly reduce the number of endangered species killed or injured by toxic pesticides.”

###

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive. 

Trump Says Mar-a-Lago 'Under Siege, Raided, and Occupied' by FBI

"The accountability our democracy desperately needs for its survival might, just might, be a real possibility," said the head of a watchdog group.

Common Dreams staff ·


New Ad Against Herschel Walker Features Ex-Wife's Domestic Violence Accusations

A leader at the anti-Trump group behind the advertisement targeting the U.S. Senate candidate said that "our campaign is built around the voices of Georgia Republicans who know that he's unfit for office."

Jessica Corbett ·


Michigan AG Urges Probe of Alleged GOP-Led Effort to Break Into Voting Machines

"We must denounce the Big Lie and those who refuse to uphold the will of the people in our elections," said one democracy defender.

Brett Wilkins ·


Hopes Rise for Return to Iran Nuclear Deal Destroyed by Trump

"We stand five minutes or five seconds from the finish line," said one negotiator, who added that "three or four issues" that are "sensitive for Iranians and Americans" remain to be resolved.

Brett Wilkins ·


Sinema Received Over $500K From Private Equity Before Shielding Industry From Tax Hikes

"Remember the days when taking half a million bucks from an industry, and then passing legislation that only benefits that industry, while passing the costs onto everyone else, would be called corruption?" asked one critic. "Today it's just lobbying as usual."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo