Standing on Protocol
U.S. requests exemption from ban on ozone-depleting pesticide, again
At a meeting in New Delhi this week, thumb firmly attached to nose, the U.S. is seeking to convince fellow signers of an international ozone-layer treaty that it should be allowed to continue to use and produce a pesticide it had agreed to ban by 2005. With a stockpile of nearly 11,000 tons of methyl bromide — which not only depletes the ozone layer but can cause respiratory and neurological problems in humans — the feds are requesting a 7,100-ton exemption to the ban for 2008, more than all other Montreal Protocol parties’ exemption requests combined. “The U.S. position is that we are appropriately managing the strategic reserve,” said Drusilla Hufford, director of the U.S. EPA’s stratospheric protection division and winner of our Totally Best Name and Title Ever award. But critics, including former EPA administrator William Reilly, say the U.S. move is undercutting the agreement, and a Swedish delegate says it’s “setting a bad example for other countries.” Ugh, could we be more reprehensible?