Pesticide News Story: Agencies Propose Process Improvements for Pesticide-Endangered Species Consultations to Enhance Opportunities for Stakeholder Input
For Release: August 3, 2012
EPA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“the Services”) are seeking comment on a jointly developed proposal to enhance opportunities for stakeholder input during pesticide registration reviews and endangered species consultations. Highlights of the proposal include:
- Emphasis on coordination across these federal agencies.
- Expanded role for USDA and the pesticide user community in providing current pesticide use information to inform and refine EPA’s ecological risk assessments.
- “Focus” meetings at the start of registration review for each pesticide active ingredient, to clarify current uses and label directions and consider the potential for early risk reduction.
- Formal ESA consultations later in the registration review process, allowing time to engage stakeholders in the development of more refined ecological risk assessments and more focused consultation packages including mitigation for listed species.
- Outreach to potentially affected pesticide users to discuss the technical and economic feasibility of draft Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives (RPAs), intended to avoid jeopardy to threatened and/or endangered species.
- Descriptions of the processes by which (1) EPA will summarize and organize comments on RPAs and provide those comments to the Services and (2) the Services will prepare a document for the administrative record for the consultation explaining how comments were considered and, if appropriate, how the final biological opinion was modified to address the comments received.
The document, Proposal for Enhancing Stakeholder Input in the Pesticide Registration Review and ESA Consultation Processes and Development of Economically and Technologically Feasible Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives (PDF) (9 pp, 84.28K, about PDF) is now available. The EPA will soon publish a Federal Register notice opening a 60-day public comment period on this proposal. The EPA, USDA and the Services are available to meet with affected stakeholders to discuss and clarify the process changes described.