Farmers, endangered species, benefit from ruling
» July 30, 2004 «
The decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to streamline the process for pesticide approvals under the Endangered Species Act is a success story for farmers and endangered species alike, according to the California Farm Bureau Federation.
In a final rule published this week, Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, known jointly as the Services, have improved the process for determining whether a pesticide is likely to adversely affect an endangered species.
The new joint rule allows the agencies to work together to ensure that the products farmers need continue to be available and, at the same time, do not harm endangered species.
"This is a great example of what we can accomplish by working together," said Bruce Blodgett, CFBF director of natural resources. "Our 2,000 letters, plus 28,000 more from throughout the country, made a difference. This is what grassroots mobilization is about."
Fish and Wildlife Service received more than 30,000 comments from Farm Bureau members supporting streamlined pesticide registrations.
"We worked together to achieve a goal and we achieved that goal. Our cards and letters did make a difference," said Blodgett.
Under the new rule, a more efficient process allows EPA to consult with the Services on an as-needed basis. The Services will continue monitoring EPA's performance to ensure adherence to the Endangered Species Act and use of the best available science.
A primary benefit of the new rule for farmers and ranchers is that existing products are better protected from legal challenges and new crop protection tools can continue to be brought to market. And, the change will actually benefit endangered species as well, according to the Services, because new products tend to be safer than the ones they replace.
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