Action Alert! May 2002

Action Alert! May 2002
From: Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs)



A lawsuit by three California environmental groups has prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to begin its first consultations in a decade on the effects pesticides have on endangered salmon and other imperiled species. The public can participate in the early stages of this process by submitting comments to the EPA by May 29, 2002.

The settlement will not be finalized until the public comment period ends. It is especially important that supporters of the Endangered Species Act send comments since it is virtually certain that pesticide users and chemical manufacturers will!

Please join us in telling the EPA to take action now by finalizing the settlement and beginning the process to restrict the registration of pesticides harmful to endangered species and their habitat.

Don't delay, please write to EPA now!

Send comments by email to (cc to

OPP Public Regulatory Docket (7502C)
Docket for Comments on Proposed Consent Decree - CATs v. EPA
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Washington, DC 20460

Copy your comments to the two agencies that administer the Endangered Species Act. Let them know that the public will be watching their reaction to the EPA call for consultations.

Email your comments to and we will forward them by mail, or write:

Steve Williams, Director
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1849 C St. NW Rm 3012
Washington, DC 20240

Bill Hogarth, Director
National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910

For more information contact Patty Clary or Petra Taylor at CATs, 707-445-5100. For a copy of the settlement and other information see


Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act directs all Federal agencies to use their existing authorities to conserve threatened and endangered species and, in consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to ensure that their actions do not jeopardize listed species or destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. Section 7 applies to management of Federal lands as well as other Federal actions that may affect listed species, such as the registration of pesticides by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Despite this mandate, the Environmental Protection Agency has not consulted with Fish and Wildlife Service or National Marine Fisheries Service on the effects of pesticides on any endangered species in the United States within the last ten years. This failure has left hundreds of species completely unprotected from the harmful effects of pesticides.

Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, Environmental Protection Information Center and Humboldt Watershed Council filed a lawsuit against the EPA for its failure to take action to protect endangered species. In April, the EPA signed a settlement with plaintiffs to resolve the lawsuit and begin consultations. Before the settlement can become final, the EPA will take comments from the public regarding its content. Once comments have been reviewed, the EPA will then decide whether changes need be made to the settlement and it is only if the plaintiff groups agree with any changes that the lawsuit will finally be resolved.

The settlement focuses on consultations about the effects of certain uses of eighteen pesticides to seven salmon species and 33 forest plants native to California and listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

Within 60 days of the entry of a judgment, the EPA will be required to begin consultations with the National Marine Fisheries Service on the impacts of the target pesticides to the salmon species. The EPA will also be required to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service about the impacts of the pesticides on the 33 imperiled forest plants.

As a result of this litigation, the EPA will undertake a comprehensive analysis of the effects of these pesticides including 1) the active and inert ingredients in the pesticides, 2) known degradation products, 3) all registered formulation types (e.g. granular,flowable, powder) of the pesticides, and 4) both the highest and typical application rates for the pesticides.

The settlement goes further, requiring the EPA to develop an affirmative conservation program for endangered species that includes consideration of 1) chronic and sublethal effects of pesticides on all life stages of endangered and threatened species; 2) effects of complete pesticide product formulations, effects of diluents, adjuvants and the products of pesticide degradation; 3) the use of systematic field monitoring in a variety of site conditions, runoff patterns, and application methods to validate transport and persistence models; 4) direct and indirect effects of pesticides added to the environmental baseline impact endangered and threatened species and 5) the best available scientific evidence.

The eighteen pesticides targeted in the settlement are registered by EPA for a variety of crops and other uses in California including those done in forests, on various fruit, nut, nursery and forage crops, on highway and utility rights-of-way and in irrigation canals. Their effects will be analyzed for one or more of these usage sites in the habitat of the seven salmon species and 33 forest plants that collectively are named in the settlement.

The eighteen pesticides, the usage sites for each pesticide and the affected species is detailed in the attachments at the end of the settlement. For a copy of the settlement and other relevant information see or call Patty Clary or Petra Taylor at Californians for Alternatives to Toxics at 707-445-5100.


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