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Endangered Species

Implementing NAS Report Recommendations on Ecological Risk Assessment for Endangered and Threatened Species

Background

In 2011, the EPA and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce and the Interior requested that the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) convene a committee of independent experts to examine topics pertaining to tools and approaches for assessing the effects of proposed Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) actions on endangered and threatened species and their critical habitats.

The National Research Council was asked to consider a range of issues, including:

  • identifying best-available scientific data and information;
  • considering sub-lethal, indirect and cumulative effects;
  • assessing the effects of chemical mixtures and inert ingredients;
  • using models to assist in analyzing the effects of pesticide use;
  • incorporating uncertainties into the evaluations effectively; and
  • using geospatial information and datasets during these assessments.

NAS released its report in April 2013 with its recommendations. Read the NAS report. Exit

Status

In May 2019, EPA released draft revisions to the method used to evaluate the impacts pesticides have on endangered species. Read EPA’s Draft Revised Method for National Level Endangered Species Risk Assessment Process for Biological Evaluations of Pesticides.

The draft revisions would ensure this process is efficient, protective, transparent, and based on the best available science. Upon publication in the Federal Register, EPA will accept public comments on the draft revised method for 45 days in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2019-0185 on www.regulations.gov.

As part of the EPA’s efforts to engage with stakeholders on this important issue, the Agency is hosting a public meeting on June 10, 2019, at its Potomac Yard South Building in Arlington, Virginia. The public meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to Noon EDT in the lobby-level conference center. Register to attend the meeting in person or via webinar by Thursday, May 30, 2019.Exit

The June 10 public meeting will be part of the federal government’s coordinated effort to improve the Endangered Species Act (ESA) process that is used when pesticides are federally registered. New provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill call for the establishment of an interagency working group to provide recommendations and implement a strategy to improve the pesticide registration process. Input from the public meeting and the public comment period on the revised method will be used by the working group to make these improvements.

Since receiving the April 2013 NAS report, EPA has been working with the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce and the Interior to develop shared scientific approaches that reflect NAS’s advice. Working together, scientists from these agencies met, analyzed the recommendations, and developed Interim Approaches for Pesticide Endangered Species Act Assessments based on National Academy of Sciences Report Recommendations. The Draft Revised Method for National Level Endangered Species Risk Assessment Process for Biological Evaluations of Pesticides released in May 2019 is an important step in further refining the interim approaches.

The interim approaches were used by EPA to finalize biological evaluations for the three pilot chemicals: chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion in 2017. A Response to Comment document (PDF)(20 pp, 977 K, About PDF that addresses public comments submitted in response to the April 2015 draft biological evaluations is also available. The information provided for each chemical will be on a separate page:

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