Check Marine Fisheries Analysis Dozens of Endangered Species

The National Sea Fisheries Service today released a revised draft biological assessment that revealed that three widely used insecticides – Chlorpyrifos, Diazinon and Malathion – threaten the continued existence of dozens of endangered marine animals, including salmon and Puget Sound finisher cetacean.

Today’s Analysis echoes a previous biological opinion on the three pesticides released by the fisheries service in 2017. This opinion was rejected by Trump’s political officials, forcing the agency to repeat its Analysis.

In the five years since the 2017 Analysis, the Environmental Protection Agency has continued to authorize the uncontrolled use of the three pesticides in the habitat of endangered plants and animals, even though it knew that these chemicals constituted a disadvantage for many protected species.


“The National Marine Fisheries Service should be commended for following the science and confirming that these three toxic viruses are deadly to salmon and bring Puget Sound orcas closer to extinction,” said Lori Ann Burd, director of environment and health at the Center for Biodiversity. “Despite the enormous pressures exerted under the Trump administration, the Fisheries Service has maintained scientific integrity and has shown real courage not to give in to the will of the pesticide industry.”

The draft biological opinion concludes that Chlorpyrifos and Malathion threaten the survival of 37 endangered species and affect the designated critical habitat of 36 Species. It also notes that Diazinon endangers the survival of 26 endangered species and affects the designated critical habitat of 18 species.

The next step will be for the Fisheries Service to receive public comments and submit its Analysis to the EPA for implementation.

The Trump administration has approved the pesticide industry’s demands that biological assessments must take into account “use data” — data widely considered incomplete and unreliable — to determine the damage caused to endangered species.

After countless employees of the Fisheries Service, the EPA, the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States. Fish- and Wildlife Service to review and evaluate the use data, the Fisheries Service stated in its opinion that “the use data (previous use data) are not available at a scale useful for predicting Exposure to brown spot and endangered species” and that “the NMFS has concluded that the data, that the measure does not endanger the species or does not negatively modify the habitat.”

The agency’s conclusion is supported by the fact that data on pesticide use are collected only at the state level and that current federal law prohibits the collection of such data on a smaller scale due to privacy concerns.

Contrary to the scientific conclusions of the Fisheries Service on the use data, its sister agency, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, continues to follow the guidelines prescribed by the Industry, established for the first time under the Trump administration.


For example, in a draft biological opinion on these three chemicals published in April, the Fish and Wildlife Service noted that Malathion would endanger only 78 of the more than 1,700 endangered species under its jurisdiction. This discovery contrasts with a previous draft conclusion – which was concluded before the Intervention of the Trump administration- according to which 1,284 species would be threatened by the pesticide.

In the coming days, the Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to publish a final biological opinion in accordance with the terms of a lawful agreement with the center.

“While we commend the National Sea Fisheries Service for its excellent Analysis of the effects of these pesticides, we must also condemn the Fish and Wildlife Service, which has practically given up on protecting endangered species from the same pesticides in the same places,” Burd said. “We will continue to take measures to protect scientific integrity and these critical biological advisories that provide a lifeline for orcas and salmon.”

Background

As part of a lawful agreement, the Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to produce a biological report by the end of 2017, describing ways to protect endangered species from Chlorpyrifos, Malathion and Diazinon, as required by the Endangered Species Act.

In January 2017, the EPA completed its part of this process when it published a biological assessment indicating that almost all federally protected species are susceptible to damage by Chlorpyrifos and Malathion. It was also found that more than three quarters of all endangered species are susceptible to damage by Diazinon.


The World Health Organization has determined that Malathion and Diazinon “are probably carcinogenic to humans.”

After the EPA’s announcement, Dow AgroSciences officials asked the Trump administration to suspend the assessments.

In May 2017, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced that its biological assessment project assessing pesticide damage was almost complete after almost four years of work and could be publicly commented on within a few months. As the service staff prepared to make the biological opinion available for public comment, they informed Trump’s political officials, including then acting interior secretary David Bernhardt, of the results of the agency’s rigorous scientific review.

Following this Briefing, the senior officials of the Ministry of the Interior, including Bernhardt, suspended indefinitely the publication of the evaluation of the service. The unprecedented efforts of The Trump administration to undermine these results were highlighted in an investigation by the New York Times.

A document obtained by the center under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that the assessments were suspended after senior politicians were informed that the service’s Analysis revealed that Chlorpyrifos endangered the continued existence of 1,399 protected species.

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