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EPA Wraps Pesticide Assessment for Lawsuit

by Cookson Beecher
Capital Press, January 7, 2005

The Environmental Protection Agency has completed its salmon-related assessments of the last seven pesticide active ingredients named in the Washington Toxics Coalition lawsuit against the agency.

In doing so, it has finished its determinations on how all 54 chemicals in the final court order will, or will not, affect salmon.

The Washington Toxics Coalition had claimed the EPA violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service on the impacts of pesticides on listed Pacific salmon. The coalition argued that pesticides can interfere with salmon‚s ability to find their way back to their spawning grounds.

The lawsuit led to a court ruling last January that established interim no-spray buffer requirements along fish-sensitive waterways when certain chemicals are used.

The court-ordered no-spray buffers are 60 feet for ground applications and 300 feet for aerial applications of those chemicals.

The decision applies to certain water bodies in California, Oregon and Washington.

Although the no-spray buffer requirements remain in place, the buffer requirements do not apply to any of the 54 pesticide active ingredients that EPA has determined have „no effectš on salmon.

They also do not apply to any of the 54 pesticides that have received a „may affect, but not likely to adversely affectš determination Ų provided that the National Marine Fisheries Service has not rejected the „not likely to adversely affectš determination.

Here are EPA‚s effects determination on the last seven pesticides:

The use of pendimethalin (trade name: Prowl) and terrestrial use of 2, 4-D are no longer subject to court-ordered buffers. However, EPA determined that the use of 2, 4-D to control aquatic weeds „may affectš all 26 evolutionary significant units of Pacific salmon or steelhead named in the lawsuit.

Deborah Bahs, Crop and Pesticide Use Specialist for the Washington State Department of Agriculture, said pendimethalin is used to combat broadleaf weeds in a wide range of crops, among them alfalfa, dry beans, potatoes and dry peas; 2, 4-D is a broad spectrum herbicide also used on a wide range of crops, among them asparagus, Christmas trees and hybrid poplars.

It is also used for weed-and-brush control on forestlands.

EPA‚s determinations on the other five pesticides will require buffers along certain fish-sensitive waterways.

Here is some information about those five pesticides.

Unless the court overturns the ruling that created no-spray buffer requirements, the requirements will remain in place until EPA and NOAA Fisheries complete the consultation process that is required for the pesticides that EPA has determined are likely to adversely affect salmonids.


Cookson Beecher, Capital Press Staff Writer
EPA Wraps Pesticide Assessment for Lawsuit
Capital Press, January 7, 2005

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