EPA Issues Report Highlighting Actions Taken to Improve the Endangered Species Act Consultation Process for Pesticides
For Release: June 26, 2020
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in collaboration with federal partners, met a congressional commitment by submitting its second report to Congress highlighting the progress achieved to date with creating a more efficient and effective review process regarding pesticide impacts under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Highlights of the report include:
- How a new method announced in March 2020 for conducting biological evaluations under the ESA will assure that pesticide registration review actions under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) do not jeopardize endangered species. The updated method ensures that—when available—the agency will use high-quality historical data that reflects where and how certain pesticides are used;
- How incorporating recent revisions to regulations associated with the ESA consultation process helps with efficiency across agencies; and,
- What the agencies are doing to improve communications and outreach, and how they are actively soliciting stakeholder feedback and engagement during the consultation process.
The ESA is a proven and critical tool for ensuring the recovery and protection of the nation’s most vulnerable species and habitats. However, for decades EPA’s approach for assessing pesticides risks to endangered species resulted in costly, time-consuming litigation and delays in pesticide registration decision-making.
As directed by Congress through the 2018 Farm Bill, EPA, the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality established an interagency working group (IWG) in 2018 tasked with providing recommendations and implementing a strategy to improve the Endangered Species Act of 1973 consultation process for pesticides.
The first report from the IWG was submitted to Congress on December 2019 and identified several proposals to improve the ESA consultation process for pesticide registration and registration review, plans for implementation of those proposals, and areas of consensus and continuing topics of debate.