Judge Bans Pesticide Use Near Northwest Salmon Runs

A federal judge Thursday banned the use of a wide range of pesticides in and around thousands of miles of waterways in the Northwest frequented by endangered salmon, and required stores selling seven of the most dangerous banned pesticides to display signs reading “salmon hazard.” U.S. District Judge John Coughenour’s sweeping ruling, which will apply to everything from farms to orchards to golf courses, establishes a 100-yard buffer around streams when aerial spraying and a 20-yard buffer when ground spraying — protective measures that the ruling calls “common, simple, and effective.” Although the ruling was expected, it drew alarmed reactions from farming groups, which warn that it could hurt the economy and drive small farmers out of business. The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed by enviro and fishing groups against the U.S. EPA, which sought immediate protections for salmon under the Endangered Species Act, and is expected to have broad consequences for similar suits pending around the country.