Fairfax, Va. — According to the National Pest Management Association, last week, the Center for Biological Diversity and Pesticide Action Network filed suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the federal district court for the northern district of California, alleging that EPA had failed to take steps required by the Endangered Species Act to protect more than 200 endangered species that are located in every state and territory in the United States, except Alaska, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands.
The suit is more than 400 pages long and asks the court to protect more than 200 species by requiring EPA to initiate consultations with the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service on almost 400 pesticide active ingredients, including most products used by PMPs.
In addition, the suit asks the court to impose "restrictions on the use of the identified pesticides where they may affect endangered and threatened species and critical habitats until the consultation process has been completed and EPA has brought its pesticide registrations into compliance."
Though the suit may take years to litigate, it has the potential to significantly affect PMPs virtually everywhere in the United States, NPMA reports.
To see the lawsuit, click here.
Here are excerpts from a release from the Center for Biological Diversity:
“For decades, the EPA has turned a blind eye to the disastrous effects pesticides can have on some of America’s rarest species,” said Jeff Miller, a conservation advocate with the Center. “This lawsuit is intended to force the EPA to follow the law and ensure that harmful chemicals are not sprayed in endangered species habitats.”
The lawsuit seeks protection for 214 endangered and threatened species throughout the United States, including the Florida panther, California condor, piping plover, black-footed ferret, arroyo toad, Indiana bat, bonytail chub and Alabama sturgeon. Documents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and EPA, as well as peer-reviewed scientific studies, indicate these species are harmed by the pesticides at issue. More than a billion pounds of pesticides are used annually in the United States, and the EPA has registered more than 18,000 different pesticides for use. Extensive scientific studies show widespread and pervasive pesticide contamination in groundwater, drinking water and wildlife habitats throughout the country.
Many EPA-approved pesticides are also linked to cancer and other severe health effects in humans. Some pesticides can act as endocrine disruptors, interfering with natural hormones, damaging reproductive function and offspring, and causing developmental, neurological and immune problems in wildlife and humans. Endocrine-disrupting pesticides cause sexual deformities such as intersex fish (with male and female parts) that cannot reproduce. Scientists believe that pesticides may also play a role in the recent colony collapse disorder, the disappearance of bees that are agriculturally important pollinators.
“The EPA authorizes pesticide uses that result in millions of pounds of toxins, including carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, entering our waterways each year, polluting our soil and poisoning our drinking water,” said Miller. “Common-sense restrictions on pesticide use that protect endangered species can also safeguard human health.”