'WASHINGTON— The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released a set of proposed changes that would dramatically reduce protections for the nation’s most endangered plants and animals from pesticides known to harm them. The proposals ignore the real-world, science-based assessments of pesticides’ harms, instead relying on arbitrary industry-created models.
The EPA proposals would, for example, gut protections for endangered plants that are pollinated by butterflies and other insects by ignoring the fact that animals routinely move back and forth between agricultural areas and places where endangered species live.
Today’s proposals follow intensive efforts by Interior secretary David Bernhardt to halt federal work on protecting wildlife from pesticides.
“The federal government’s own science indicates this disgraceful proposal could drive endangered butterflies, birds and hundreds of other species to extinction,” said Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The pesticide industry asked Trump to kill protections from harmful pesticides, and Interior chief Bernhardt and the EPA’s pesticide office are quickly pulling the trigger.”
The proposed change comes over a year after a draft biological opinion that was scuttled by the Trump administration found that the loss of pollinators from the insecticide chlorpyrifos would put hundreds of endangered species on a path to extinction.
Today’s so-called “refinements” will make it easier for the EPA to claim that pesticides have no effects on endangered species, allowing pesticides to remain on the market without common-sense restrictions on their use to protect endangered species.
The proposal disregards the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences and ignores the mandate of the Endangered Species Act to give imperiled wildlife and plants the benefit of the doubt when evaluating the range of impacts caused by exposure to pesticides. Records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show that the refinements were driven by political-level appointees at the EPA, Department of the Interior, Department of Commerce and the White House.'
Read more: Trump EPA Seeks to Slash Pesticide Protections for Imperiled Wildlife
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