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New EPA Pesticide Policy May Limit New Chemistries

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reversing decades of practice in an attempt to further the Agency’s compliance with the Endangered Species Act when evaluating new pesticides and ingredients.

In the new policy, EPA will evaluate the potential effects of each new active ingredient on federally threatened or endangered species and their designated critical habitats before the agency will register a new AI.

EPA will also initiate Endangered Species consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The EPA typically didn’t assess the potential effects of conventional pesticides on listed species when registering new AIs. EPA says that typically resulted in not enough protection and resource-intensive litigation.

The agency says its new policy should reduce these kinds of court cases and improve the legal defensibility of newly approved active ingredients. Michael Freedhoff of the EPA says his agency is taking a “critical step” to register new pesticides in a way that prioritizes protection.