Federal Agencies Launch Process to Improve Evaluations for Pesticides and Endangered Species
Any recommendations from the Working Group must be consistent with the Endangered Species Act and other applicable environmental laws. This process should not lead to recommendations that undercut the ESA or any other bedrock environmental law.
Three federal agencies – the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service – signed a Memorandum of Agreement today setting up an interagency working group to develop recommendations for improving the consultation process under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that ensures pesticides do not jeopardize endangered and threatened species.
The following statement is from Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife:
“The memorandum of agreement announced today establishes a collaborative process that can lead to improvements in how these agencies evaluate pesticides under the Endangered Species Act. This is a complex challenge, but we are hopeful that the interagency working group can identify administrative steps to achieve greater technical accuracy, collaboration, timeliness and conservation outcomes in the pesticide consultation process.
“The agencies have numerous options to accomplish this goal, ranging from policy innovations to technological advancements. Examples include using better geospatial data on species and pesticide use patterns, refining scientific models that evaluate pesticide exposure, and collaborations that allow each agency to contribute more of its expertise to pesticide risk assessments.
“However, any recommendations from the Working Group must be consistent with the Endangered Species Act and other applicable environmental laws. This process should not lead to recommendations that undercut the ESA or any other bedrock environmental law. Moreover, success in this effort, as in so many areas of endangered species conservation, will depend crucially on the commitment of adequate resources, in both staff and budget, to implement these new approaches.
“We encourage the new interagency Working Group to engage stakeholders and the public to ensure that all good ideas for improving the ESA consultation process are considered. The stakes are high, but we are hopeful that the MOA will help the agencies to conduct pesticide consultations in full compliance with the ESA that effectively protect threatened and endangered species and the habitat on which they depend.”
Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With nearly 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit Newsroom.Defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.