WASHINGTON—Conservation and food safety groups filed an appeals court challenge today regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of a toxic new pesticide called cyantraniliprole (or “CTP”) without properly considering its impacts to imperiled species, as required by the Endangered Species Act.
“The EPA’s action was unlawful and irresponsible because it failed to include measures to protect endangered species, water quality and the environment,” said George Kimbrell, Senior Attorney for Center for Food Safety. “As the EPA’s own scientists have warned, this dangerous pesticide can drift into wildlife habitat and waterways but the agency failed to include necessary protective measures.”
The EPA authorized widespread uses of the new pesticide in both agricultural and urban areas without measures to protect endangered species despite concluding in its own assessment that CTP is “highly or very highly toxic” to hundreds of endangered aquatic species such as freshwater fish, mussels and clams, as well as endangered terrestrial invertebrate species, including 20 endangered butterflies.
Based on these findings, the agency’s own scientists recommended broad measures to keep CTP from reaching sensitive wildlife habitat. While the EPA concluded that it should consult federal wildlife biologists for more specific analysis and to develop on-the-ground protections for species, the agency failed to actually take that step.
“The EPA needs to stop unleashing new pesticides across the American landscape without first making sure these highly toxic chemicals will not drive endangered species even closer to extinction,” said Lori Ann Burd, Environmental Health director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The EPA’s failure to look before it leaps has once again put imperiled wildlife across the country in harm’s way.”
The Endangered Species Act requires the EPA to consult with federal wildlife biologists on the effects of chemicals applied in the habitat of imperiled species. To help these federal agencies break through years of gridlock, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report outlining a process for the agency to work together with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure that pesticide regulation adequately protects imperiled wildlife. In response to those recommendations, the EPA announced several reforms designed to better protect endangered species. Yet the agency did not incorporate any of these reforms in its process for approving cyantraniliprole.
The lawsuit asked the court to order EPA to consult with federal wildlife biologists on cyantraniliprole’s effects on endangered species and to put in place interim protections necessary to protect wildlife until the consultation is complete. Earthjustice is representing and co-counseling the case with the Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, and Defenders of Wildlife.
Center for Food Safety, a national, non-profit organization with over 650,000 members, was founded to protect human health and the environment by curbing the use of harmful food production technologies and by promoting organic and other forms of sustainable agriculture. More information can be found at www.centerforfoodsafety.org.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.