Impasse Reached on West Coast Endangered Species Act Restrictions
Four crop protection product manufacturers – Dow AgroSciences, Makhteshim-Agan of North America, Cheminova and Gharda Chemicals Ltd. – advised EPA on Friday, May 7, 2010, that they would not voluntarily agree to new restrictions based on a National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) assessment on the use of the insecticides chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion in the Western U.S.
“Solid scientific analysis…supports [the] view,” the companies noted in their response “that the use of [these] products is not taking or jeopardizing any protected species and not adversely affecting any critical habitat.”
The companies also noted that EPA itself has strongly criticized the NMFS assessment of endangered salmon species on which the new restrictions are based – and that the companies have challenged that NMFS assessment based on many of the same deficiencies pointed out by EPA and lead state regulatory agencies.
If the companies were to comply, grower access to these important pest control products would be severely limited within the 176,000 square mile area of California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington where these restrictions would take effect. Compliance would also create an adverse regulatory precedent for growers using other crop protection products in the years ahead.
The companies note that agreeing to the restrictions would be inconsistent with legal and regulatory filings that they have outstanding on these issues. Among these is a suit against NMFS over the flawed assessment that is currently driving EPA’s action; and a petition to EPA calling on the Agency to adopt transparent policies in establishing Endangered Species Act restrictions.
The companies stress that they “remain willing to consider adjustments to product labels that are consistent with the facts and the needs of growers and vector control programs” and they call on EPA to undertake a fundamental reassessment of its approach to integrating its responsibilities under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act with its obligations under the Endangered Species Act.
EPA may decide to initiate a regulatory process to force restrictions on these three insecticides. Should this occur the companies believe that the deficiencies of the NMFS assessment would become glaringly obvious in the science-based hearings that would follow. The companies continue to press for a resolution of these issues resulting in a more open process for Endangered Species Act regulations where the input of registrants, growers, agricultural experts and other interested parties is more readily considered in regulatory decision-making.
Read the companies’ response to the EPA.
Access the EPA’s letter requesting companies change their labels.
Visit our Endangered Species Act page to learn more about the history of the issue and its legal implications
See why farmers, commodity and grower associations as well as state regulatory officials are concerned about EPA’s plans.
Read excerpts of the criticisms that EPA and other regulatory bodies have made about the NMFS assessment
View grower comments about their need for chlorpyrifos.
Contact Garry Hamlin (317-337-4799; GarryHamlin@Dow.com) for additional information.
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