EPA gets independence on pesticide ratings

July 30, 2004 at 1:03 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 30 (UPI) -- The White House will let the Environmental Protection Agency decide -- on its own -- if pesticides may harm threatened or endangered species.

Under current rules the EPA must get written approval from the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service before ruling a new pesticide would not "adversely affect" imperiled plants and animals, the Washington Post reported Friday.

The new rules, issued Thursday, would streamline the process by entrusting EPA scientists with the job of deciding how pest controls affect endangered species, Bush officials said.

"This is the first administration to address a long-standing need to create a workable framework to protect species, ranging from salmon to butterflies and songbirds, ensuring that the potential effects of thousands of pest-control products are examined in a timely and comprehensive manner," said Steve Williams, director of Fish and Wildlife.

"At the same time, we are making sure that farmers can continue to provide abundant food for our country and that consumers can continue to use many popular household and garden products."

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