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Groups Threaten to Sue EPA Over Pesticides

by Hal Bernton
The Seattle Times, July 27, 2000

Two Pacific Northwest environmental groups intend to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to develop a plan to safeguard salmon from pesticides in the region's streams and rivers.

The formal notification - delivered yesterday - says the EPA must act within 60 days or face a lawsuit seeking action under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The Washington Toxics Coalition of Seattle, and Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides in Eugene, are preparing the lawsuit.

The EPA is the lead federal agency charged with regulating pesticides, including organophosphates, a class of bug-killers found in trace amounts in Pacific Northwest waterways. Recent studies in the Pacific Northwest and in Europe indicate organophosphates can affect fish development, behavior and reproduction.

Two environmental groups allege that the EPA has failed to assess the pesticide risks for salmon runs listed for protection. They say EPA assessments should include consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service, the lead agency for protecting the salmon. They also say the agency should consider restricting pesticide use.

"The EPA has really failed to look at this," said Erika Schreder of Washington Toxics.

Mark MacIntyre, an EPA spokesman, declined to comment.

The EPA earlier this year announced a phaseout of many uses of Dursban, one of the most widely used organophosphates. The agency also is considering new restrictions on diazinon, an organophosphate found in streams throughout Puget Sound.

Related Pages:
Research Suggests Pesticides Disrupt How Salmon Smell

Hal Bernton
Groups Threaten to Sue EPA Over Pesticides
The Seattle Times, July 27, 2000

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