Further review on species effects needed for three pesticides

By Stephen Davies

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WASHINGTON, April 6, 2016 - Federal wildlife agencies will have to prepare detailed analyses on how three widely used pesticides affect endangered species, the Environmental Protection Agency has concluded.

The agency released draft biological evaluations today on the effects of chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion on threatened and endangered species and designated critical habitat, updating evaluations it released in December.

The “effects determinations” indicate that the Fish and Wildlife Service or National Marine Fisheries Service will have to prepare Endangered Species Act (ESA)-required Biological Opinions on 1,725 species for chlorpyrifos and malathion, and on 1,416 species for diazinon. Those species are “likely to (be) adversely affected” by use of the three chemicals, EPA found. The language comes from the ESA.

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The agency said the draft biological evaluations “were developed using interim scientific methods developed collaboratively with USFWS and NMFS. The interim scientific methods represent a new paradigm for analyzing pesticides for effects on endangered species and were developed in response to the April 2013 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report, ‘Assessing Risks to Endangered and Threatened Species from Pesticides'

“In developing the biological evaluations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided expertise on crop production and pesticide use and helped EPA use the National Agricultural Statistics Service Cropland Data Layer to help define the footprint of agricultural use patterns.”

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EPA is asking for comments so it can “refine” its analyses on the effects of the three pesticides on listed species. EPA will publish a notice in the Federal Register triggering a 60-day comment period; it released a document to aid in submitting comments, “Instructions for Commenting on the Draft Biological Evaluations for Chlorpyrifos, Diazinon, and Malathion.” The Biological Opinions also will have a public comment period.

Links to the biological evaluations are below.

·       https://www.epa.gov/endangered-species/biological-evaluation-chapters-chlorpyrifos,

·       https://www.epa.gov/endangered-species/biological-evaluation-chapters-diazinon,

·       https://www.epa.gov/endangered-species/biological-evaluation-chapters-malathion.

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