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Policy

Changes Proposed For Pesticide Reviews

by Britt E. Erickson
August 13, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 33

Four federal agencies have developed a joint proposal for revising the process EPA uses to assess the risks of pesticides on endangered species. The proposal from EPA, USDA, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Fish & Wildlife Service would give stakeholders more ways to provide input on pesticide reviews. Under the Endangered Species Act, EPA must consult with the services if registering a pesticide may affect an endangered species or its critical habitat. For decades, EPA has faced multiple lawsuits for failing to initiate such consultations, particularly during safety reviews of pesticides that are already on the market. Under the proposal, EPA would solicit pesticide use data from USDA and grower groups to help improve its ecological risk assessments, and the agency would hold meetings to gather stakeholder input at the beginning of each pesticide review. EPA would also delay formal consultations with the services until the end of the review process. It would instead obtain refined species habitat, range, and behavior information early in the process in hopes that fewer consultations will be required.

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