Wednesday, April 6, 2016

EPA Releases Draft Biological Evaluations of Three Chemicals’ Impacts on Endangered Species

EPA Releases Draft Biological Evaluations of Three Chemicals’ Impacts on Endangered Species As part of the Endangered Species Act consultation process with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), EPA has released for public comment the first-ever draft biological evaluations analyzing the nation-wide effects of chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion on endangered and threatened species and designated critical habitat. Partial evaluations, without the effects determinations, were released in December 2015. The EPA is soliciting specific feedback regarding how to refine the assessments. Accompanying the biological evaluations is a document titled “Instructions for Commenting on the Draft Biological Evaluations for Chlorpyrifos, Diazinon, and Malathion.” This document outlines the components of the biological evaluations, the types of feedback sought and where to submit comments. We encourage commenters to group their comments to help facilitate review because of the anticipated volume of public input. You can find these instructions in the “Supporting Documents” section of each docket. Following public comment on the draft biological evaluations, EPA will finalize the assessments. For those species and designated critical habitats where registered uses of the pesticides are “likely to adversely affect” species and/or habitat, USFWS and NMFS will use the analyses and data from the biological evaluations in their final Biological Opinions for each of the three chemicals. The Biological Opinions will also have a public comment period before they become final. At any time during this consultation process with USFWS and NMFS, EPA can determine if a pesticide’s registration, label, or use instructions should be altered to ensure use of a pesticide is consistent with the requirements of FIFRA and the ESA. EPA will work with stakeholders to implement these changes through label-based restrictions on use or through geographically-specific Endangered Species Protection Bulletins. More information is available at www.epa.gov/endangered-species/assessing-pesticides-under-endangered-species-act. These draft biological evaluations were developed using interim scientific methods developed collaboratively with USFWS and NMFS. The interim scientific methods represent a new paradigm for analyzing pesticides for effects on endangered species and were developed in response to the April 2013 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report, “Assessing Risks to Endangered and Threatened Species from Pesticides.” In developing the biological evaluations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided expertise on crop production and pesticide use and helped EPA use the National Agricultural Statistics Service Cropland Data Layer to help define the footprint of agricultural use patterns. To read the biological evaluations for each pesticide, go to: • https://www.epa.gov/endangered-species/biological-evaluation-chapters-chlorpyrifos, • https://www.epa.gov/endangered-species/biological-evaluation-chapters-diazinon, • https://www.epa.gov/endangered-species/biological-evaluation-chapters-malathion. When the federal register notice publishes in the next week, you can submit your comments in the registration review dockets for chlorpyrifos (EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0850), diazinon (EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0351), and malathion (EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0317) at www.regulations.gov. EPA will accept comments for 60 days. Additionally, we will host an online technical webinar to explain the interim methods used to make effects determinations and how to navigate the biological evaluation materials on the website. The webinar will take place later in April. More information will be sent via Pesticide Program Update ahead of the webinar.

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