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Ecology and salmon related articles

Appeals Court Overturns
Federal Finding on Three Pesticides

by Mateusz Perkowski
Capital Press, February 21, 2013

Government biologists must rethink a scientific finding that several common pesticides jeopardize protected fish species, according to a federal appeals court.

The National Marine Fisheries Service's conclusion was "arbitrary and capricious" because it relied on evidence that wasn't always "logical, obvious or even rational," the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Feb. 21.

The agency issued its finding in 2008 after a protracted fight with environmentalists, resulting in spray restrictions on chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion.

The biological opinion recommended that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency require spray buffers of 500 to 1,000 feet around waterways to prevent the chemicals from harming salmon and steelhead species along the West Coast.

Several pesticide manufacturers -- Dow AgroSciences, Makhteshim Agan and Cheminova -- challenged that "biological opinion," claiming that it was based on faulty analysis and conclusions.

The 4th Circuit has now granted their request to overturn the biological opinion, finding it "was not the product of reasoned decision-making" and must be reconsidered by NMFS.

The three-judge panel based its decision on three main problems with the study:

Mateusz Perkowski
Appeals Court Overturns Federal Finding on Three Pesticides
Capital Press, February 21, 2013

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