Group files notice to sue EPA over registration of nearly 400 pesticides

By MITCH LIES, Capital Press

A national conservation organization has filed a notice of intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to adequately regulate nearly 400 pesticides for their effect on threatened and endangered species.

In the notice filed Jan. 28, the Center for Biological Diversity alleged EPA is violating the Endangered Species Act by failing to consult with wildlife regulatory agencies about the pesticides' impacts on hundreds of protected species.

The center also claims EPA is violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by registering pesticides known to harm migratory birds.

"For too long, this agency's oversight has been abysmal, allowing the pesticide industry to unleash a virtual plague of toxic chemicals into our environment," said center advocate Jeff Miller in a prepared statement.

The action is considered by some as a extension of a 2002 suit brought against EPA by the Washington Toxics Coalition.

"If there was ever a doubt as to whether the ramifications of the (Washington Toxics Coalition) lawsuit decision would have national significance for all pesticides, this should clear that question up in a hurry," said Terry Witt, executive director of Oregonians for Food and Shelter, a farm and forest advocacy group.

That case resulted in a judge ordering EPA to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service on the impact of pesticides on salmon.

EPA has proposed no-spray buffers around certain waterways for the first three of 37 pesticides the agencies are scheduled to analyze.

The Center for Biological Diversity, headquartered in Tucson, Ariz., identified 887 endangered and threatened species that may be hurt by pesticides in the notice filed Jan. 28.

Among 394 pesticides identified in the notice are many commonly used pesticides, including imidacloprid, carbofuran, chlorpyrifos and pymetrozine.

EPA has 60 days to respond.