9th Circuit Keeps Buffersby Mitch Lies
Capital Press, June 25, 2004
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals this week denied a request to suspend an injunction prohibiting pesticide application near salmon-bearing waters while an appeal of a lower court ruling is pending.
The ruling means no-spray buffers for 34 pesticides will stay in place until the court rules on an appeal brought by farm organizations.
The 9th Circuit earlier this year agreed to expedite the appeal brought by CropLife America, Oregonians for Food and Shelter, Washington Friends of Farms and Forests and several other intervenors.
The buffers of 100 yards for aerial application and 20 yards for ground application were established by U.S. District Judge John Coughenour in January. The buffers apply to Washington, Oregon and Northern California.
Washington Toxics Coalition, Earthjustice and other environmental groups sought the buffers in response to Coughenour’s 2002 ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency was out of compliance in registering pesticides for use near salmon-bearing waters without consulting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.
The ruling this week was hailed by Patti Goldman of Earthjustice in a press release as a victory for clean water and salmon over industry profits.
Executive Director of OFS Terry Witt, however, said: “As far as I know and as far as anyone has been able to demonstrate there is no evidence that shows the salmon are in jeopardy from the pesticides listed.
“We’ll just have to continue to fight this out in the appeals process and hope for a better outcome after that,” he said.
The EPA in March also filed a notice to appeal the ruling.
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