EPA Finalizes Revised Method to Evaluate Pesticides under Endangered Species Act

Mar 12, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new method for conducting biological evaluations (BEs) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to assure that pesticide registration review actions under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) do not jeopardize endangered species. EPA’s new Revised Method for National Level Listed Species Biological Evaluations of Conventional Pesticides is meant to ensure that the review process is efficient, protective, transparent, and based on the best available science. When available, the agency will use high-quality historical data that reflects where and how certain pesticides are used.

“It is essential that Endangered Species Act reviews are using the best available science to ensure threatened species are being successfully protected and rehabilitated. If real-world data is available that can help us conduct improved, more realistic reviews, it makes sense to use that data, and EPA should be applauded for this step in the right direction,” commented ASA President Bill Gordon, Worthington, MN, in response to the revised method.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in the agency’s press release, “Responsible pesticide use is an essential tool for managing America’s farmland. EPA’s improved methodology will better protect and promote the recovery of endangered species while ensuring pesticide registration review decisions are conducted in a timely, transparent manner and are based on the best available science.” He said the revisions help EPA bring its pesticide assessment process into the 21st Century.

ESA is a tool used to ensure 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.

With this action, EPA is fulfilling its commitment under the 2018 Farm Bill to ensure that pesticides can continue to be used safely with minimal impacts to threatened and endangered species.

To view the pre-publication notice for the draft biological evaluations for carbaryl and methomyl, the final Revised Method document, and learn more about EPA, click here.