AG Balderas Leads 10 States And The District Of Columbia In Opposing EPA’s Illegal Pesticide Reviews
The States Say EPA’s Pesticide Evaluation Plans with Respect to Endangered Species Violate the Heart of the Endangered Species Act.
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Today, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas sent a comment letter to the Environmental Protection Agency, blasting the agency’s apparent attempt to violate the Endangered Species Act in its rollback of pesticide review requirements meant to prevent harm to federally endangered species. New Mexico and nine other states, plus the District of Columbia, are urging EPA to withdraw its ill-conceived rollback.
“New Mexico will not stand by and allow another Trump Administration rollback of environmental protections to harm our pristine environment and threaten the health and safety of New Mexican families,” AG Balderas said. “We will continue to fight for our state’s treasured and irreplaceable natural resources and on behalf of our families.”
The EPA is attempting to use blatant falsehoods and scientific sleights of hand to disregard potential effects of pesticides on endangered species and to circumvent statutorily required consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to determine whether listed species are threatened by pesticide approvals. AG Balderas’ letter points to no less than nine clear ways EPA’s proposed rollback is illegal under the ESA.
For example, EPA’s proposal to arbitrarily disregard a one-percent overlap between a potential pesticide use area and a species’ habitat could potentially eliminate 12 stream miles from consideration in reviews of pesticide effects on the Southwestern willow flycatcher. Twelve miles exceeds the lengths of four out of eight stream reaches where the endangered bird lives in New Mexico. Additionally, EPA’s rollback proposes to forego any review at all for endangered species with no recent sightings—potentially driving nearly-extinct species over the brink.
California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, Vermont and the District of Columbia joined New Mexico in signing the letter.