public policy

Endangered Species Act

NPMA Expresses Concern About Listing West Coast Population of Fisher Under Endangered Species Act
(Posted February 3, 2015)
NPMA recently submitted comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cautioning the Service against restricting PMP uses of rodenticides in California, Oregon and Washington State. The USFWS is considering a rulemaking listing the West Coast Population of fisher as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. According to the Service one of the primary causes for the decline in the West Coast Population of fisher is exposure to rodenticides.

Click here to view the submitted comments.

Plan for Pesticide Approvals Under ESA Released
(By John H. Thorne, Ph.D., Posted November 15, 2013)
EPA, USDA and two federal wildlife agencies have released their long-awaited whitepaper identifying how they plan to integrate recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences into Endangered Species Act requirements for pesticide approvals. Over the past decade EPA has faced a slew of lawsuits from environmental activists over charges that they didn't comply with ESA's requirement that they consult with wildlife agencies when approving the use of pesticides. The changes are expected to streamline the consultation process, preventing further litigation.

In a 10-page white paper developed by EPA, USDA, the National Marine Fisheries Service and Fish and Wildlife Service, the agencies agree to use a three-step assessment process that builds on EPA's base assessment of a given pesticide's risk when determining if there is potential for harm to an endangered species. Further, the document details that the agencies have committed "to work together to develop criteria for weighing quantitative and qualitative data"; consider the ECOTOXicology database, along with information submitted by the pesticide registrant, as "best available data"; and conduct qualitative assessments of mixtures, though it adds there are still issues left to resolve.

Click here to view the whitepaper.
Click here to view the agencies' presentation for the workshop.

Now Available: Meeting Materials for Workshop on NAS Report
(By John H. Thorne, Ph.D., Posted November 15, 2013)

Meeting materials for the November 15 stakeholder workshop, "Status of Efforts to Implement the Recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences' Report, 'Assessing Risks to Endangered and Threatened Species from Pesticides,' are available here.

The materials include a white paper detailing the interim approaches EPA, NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have agreed upon and the slides for the meeting.

The four agencies worked collaboratively to develop interim scientific policies and procedures and will present their joint interim approaches for implementing the recommendations contained in the April 2013 NAS report. The stakeholder workshop will provide an opportunity for the public to provide feedback on the document.

House Passed Farm Bill Contains Pesticide Provisions
(Posted July 30, 2013)

The Farm Bill that barely cleared the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month contains language exempting pesticide applications from Clean Water Act permitting requirements as well as provisions related to the fumigant sulfuryl fluoride and the Endangered Species Act.

Thanks to a 2009 federal court decision, Clean Water Act permits are now required for certain pesticide applications directly to or near bodies of water. The provision in the House passed Farm Bill would reverse the court's decision and restore the longstanding policy of Democratic and Republican administrations of not requiring such permits for lawful pesticide applications.

The sulfuryl fluoride provision, authored by Congressmen Austin Scott of Georgia and Kurt Schrader of Oregon, directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to, in conjunction with the Secretary of Agriculture, submit to the House Agriculture Committee within two years of the passage of the Farm Bill a report on the potential economic and public health effects of the loss of the food uses of sulfuryl fluoride. The measure is in response to a January 2011 EPA proposal canceling sulfuryl fluoride's food uses. The Endangered Species Act provision would prohibit EPA from modifying or canceling a pesticide registration based on the Biological Opinions of the agencies charged with implementing and administering ESA - the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and the National Marine Fisheries Service - until an unbiased, external scientific peer review is conducted on these ESA-required BiOps.

Lastly, the House-passed Farm Bill contains language requiring the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to conduct a "scientific and economic analysis" of Food Safety Modernization Act regulations before they can move forward, a requirement that would likely delay implementation of the regulations. None of the aforementioned provisions are included in the Farm Bill the Senate passed in early June. The two bodies now have to reconcile the differences between their respective versions of the legislation and come up with one, final bill for the chambers to vote on.

Click here to read the House passed Farm Bill.

Activist Group Refiles "Mega-Suit"
(Posted June 11, 2013)

The activist group Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) last week refiled a wide ranging federal lawsuit that sought to preclude or severely restrict the future use of more than 380 lawfully registered pesticides that a federal judge dismissed in April.

The so-called "Mega-suit," which alleged that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency failed to follow certain procedures required under the Endangered Species Act in registering and re-registering pesticides, was dismissed on the grounds that CBD had not alleged a specific EPA "final agency action" or established legal standing with regard to each pesticide identified in the suit. Though the number of pesticides listed in the refiled complaint is substantially less than the initial filing, the pared back suit still includes several rodenticides and compounds used to manage many general pests and termites. Click here to read the amended complaint.

National Academy of Sciences Releases Report on FIFRA/ESA Consultations
(Posted May 7, 2013)

Recently the National Academy of Sciences released a report entitled, "Assessing Risks to Endangered and Threatened Species from Pesticides." This report instructs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to use a common scientific approach when assessing the impact to threatened and endangered species.

Specifically, the agencies should use a risk assessment approach that addresses problem formulation, exposure analysis, effects analysis, and risk characterization. As you may recall from previous reporting, EPA has been repeatedly sued by activist groups for having not consulted with the Services, leading to the imposition of often onerous use restrictions for PMPs in some locations. As the report is analyzed for potential impacts to the professional pest management industry, NPMA will provide updates.