The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public comment on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) draft biological opinion for the registration of malathion, an insecticide that is commonly used to control mosquitoes and a variety of insects that attack fruits, vegetables, landscaping plants, and shrubs. The draft biological opinion evaluates whether use of malathion is likely to jeopardize federally threatened and endangered species or destroy or adversely modify their critical habitats.
In January 2017, EPA released the biological evaluation for malathion, which found potential effects on threatened and endangered species and their designated critical habitats. Because the biological evaluation for malathion made “likely to adversely affect” determinations to some threatened and endangered species and their designated critical habitats, EPA has been consulting with FWS to ensure the registration of malathion is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of these species or adversely modify their critical habitats.
The draft biological opinion includes FWS’s preliminary findings that 78 listed species could be jeopardized, and 23 critical habitats could be adversely modified by the use of malathion. The biological opinion also provides several categories of potential reasonable and prudent alternatives (RPAs), actions that could be taken or refined to a species-specific level to prevent jeopardy to the species or adverse modification of critical habitat. FWS will work with EPA and the registrants prior to issuing a final biological opinion to develop technologically and economically feasible RPAs tailored to the needs of the species and critical habitats.
Before the biological opinion is finalized, EPA, FWS, and registrants will also discuss reasonable and prudent measures (RPMs), actions that can be taken to minimize the potential harm that could result from the use of this pesticide to listed species.
EPA encourages input on the RPAs and potential RPMs from pesticide users, registrants, public interest organizations, other interested parties, and state, tribal, and local governments. EPA will provide the comments to FWS for their consideration before they finalize the biological opinion.
The public comment period will be open for 60 days and will close on June 19, 2021. The draft biological opinion is included in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2021-0231 at www.regulations.gov.
To view the biological evaluation for malathion, visit EPA's webpage.
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