EPA to evaluate pesticide impact on endangered species | TheFencePost.com
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EPA to evaluate pesticide impact on endangered species

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday, Jan. 11, announced that, effective immediately, before EPA registers any new pesticide active ingredients, which are known as AIs, the agency will evaluate the potential effects of the AI on federally threatened or endangered (listed) species and their designated critical habitats, and initiate ESA consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, as appropriate.

EPA described the new system as “reversing decades of practice.”

“Before today’s announcement, in most cases, EPA did not consistently assess the potential effects of conventional pesticides on listed species when registering new AIs,” EPA said. “This resulted in insufficient protections from new AIs for listed species, as well as resource-intensive litigation against EPA for registering new AIs prior to assessing potential effects on listed species. EPA’s new policy should reduce these types of cases against the agency and improve the legal defensibility of new AIs, which often have lower human health and ecological risks than older pesticides.”



“Protecting listed species and their habitats is essential to EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment,” said Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff. “With this policy, EPA is taking a critical step to register new pesticides in a way that prioritizes protections for listed species.”

“Incorporating ESA assessments into the registration process for new pesticides is a key component of EPA’s larger effort to meet the agency’s ESA obligations efficiently and effectively,” said Ya-Wei (Jake) Li, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention deputy assistant administrator for pesticide programs. “I look forward to seeing the positive impact of this new approach and working on additional improvements that are both beneficial for species and fair to pesticide registrants.”



EPA explained that under the new policy, “if EPA finds through its analyses that a new conventional pesticide AI is likely to adversely affect listed species or their designated critical habitats, EPA will initiate formal consultation with the services before granting a new AI registration. As part of its analysis and under its existing authorities, EPA will consider the likelihood that the registration action may jeopardize the continued existence of listed species or adversely modify their designated critical habitat and provide its findings to the services. To determine or predict the potential effects of a pesticide on these species and habitats, EPA will use appropriate ecological assessment principles and apply what it has learned from past effects determinations and the services’ biological opinions.”


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