Apr. 17, 2018
A provision in the 2018 farm bill would allow the EPA to approve pesticides without undertaking reviews now required to protect endangered species.
Environmental groups say the provision is an “unprecedented” attack that could have lasting ramifications for ecosystems across the nation.
The bill would allow the EPA to skip consultations with agencies that include the Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, which oversee the implementation of Endangered Species Act protections.
“This removes the requirement to bring in the expert agencies,” said Lori Ann Burd, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s environmental health program. She said it would gut protections for endangered species.
In a December 2017 report, the National Marine Fisheries Service said pesticides like chlorpyrifos, malathion, and diazinon threaten a number of marine animals, including some that are protected, as well as the predators that prey on them.
“Current application rates and application methods are expected to produce aquatic concentrations of all three pesticides that are likely to harm aquatic species as well as contaminate their designated critical habitats,” the report said, adding that species and their prey that live in shallow waters close to pesticide use sites are expected to be most at risk.