Pesticide News Story: EPA Signs Settlement Agreement Regarding Endangered Species
EPA has signed a Settlement Agreement (PDF, 79KB, 16 pages) that resolves a lawsuit brought against the Agency by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Save Our Springs Alliance (SOSA). On January 26, 2004, the Center for Biological Diversity and SOSA filed a lawsuit in federal district court for the District of Columbia against EPA alleging, among other things, that EPA is in violation of the Endangered Species Act by failing to ensure that EPA’s registration of pesticides does not jeopardize the Barton Springs Salamander or its designated critical habitat.
EPA is working with regulatory partners to meet our obligations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to protect endangered or threatened species from potential risks posed by pesticide use. EPA is addressing the concerns of public interest groups while keeping pest control tools available for other stakeholders.
By entering into the Settlement Agreement, the plaintiffs and EPA have agreed on an equitable solution to the litigation. The Settlement Agreement does not constitute an admission or adjudication of any fact, wrongdoing, misconduct, or liability on the part of the United States, EPA, or its officials. The Settlement Agreement establishes a series of deadlines for the Agency to make “effects determinations” for pesticides containing any of six active ingredients, to determine their potential effect on the Barton Springs salamander, Eurycea sosorum,or its designated critical habitat.
For each of these six active ingredients (atrazine, diazinon, carbaryl, prometon, metolachlor, and simazine) , the Agency will make an “effects determination” to determine whether its action:
(1) has no effect on the Barton Springs salamander;
(2) may affect but is not likely to adversely affect this species; or
(3) may affect and is likely to adversely affect this species.
Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, if the Agency determines that its action “may affect and is likely to adversely affect” the Barton Springs salamander or its designated critical habitat, the Agency will initiate consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The Settlement Agreement also states that plaintiffs in this case will not seek injunctive relief (further use restrictions) for these pesticides during EPA's review of potential effects. If EPA determines the pesticide may affect the Barton Springs salamander, plaintiffs may seek further injunctive relief through a separate legal action.
- Within 12 months (365 days) of the Effective Date of the Settlement Agreement, EPA will make an effects determination for atrazine, as it relates to the Barton Springs salamander;
- Within 21 months (630 days) of the Effective Date of the agreement, EPA will make effects determinations for two additional active ingredients, one being either carbaryl or diazinon,
- Within 25 months (760 days) of the Effective Date of the agreement, EPA will make effects determinations for the remaining 3 pesticides.
The Settlement Agreement is available electronically on EPA's web site at www.epa.gov/pesticides, under the heading "Pesticide News".
For more information, contact EPA's Press Officer, Enesta Jones at 202- 564-7873 or Office of Pesticide Programs' Arty Williams at 703-305-7695.