Bush Administration Abandons EPA Pesticide Review Rule

Say you’re a U.S. EPA official, and you’ve got a problem: Several enviro groups have accused your agency of skirting the rules that require you to have wildlife agencies review new pesticides to determine if they pose a threat to endangered species. One such group, the Center for Biological Diversity, says that as a result, some one-third of endangered species are adversely affected by toxic pesticides. Several groups have sued your agency, and in one Seattle case a U.S. district court temporarily banned the use of several dozen pesticides you had approved. What should you do? Review the chemicals more carefully? Nah, it’s too complex — that’s why you haven’t been doing it in the first place. A better solution? Get rid of the review rules altogether, under the guise of “streamlining” them. So that’s what the Bush administration did yesterday, thereby winning the approval of CropLife America, a pesticide industry trade group, which says the new and improved rules represent “a sensible approach that strengthens protections to endangered animal and plant species.” Problem solved!