|Environmental, fishing groups seek court action to protect
Environmental and fishing groups have filed for an injunction in Seattle Federal
District Court to limit the pesticide uses most likely to harm salmon. The move
follows a July court ruling that forces the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) to ensure that it does not allow pesticide uses that harm endangered salmon.
The groups are seeking the injunction to put interim protections in place until
EPA brings its pesticide regulations into compliance with the Endangered Species
Act. The action is still pending.
We know these pesticides are in our rivers and streams and they can harm
salmon, said Aimee Code of the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides.
We need the court to put salmon protections in place today.
The groups filing for the injunction include the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives
to Pesticides, the Washington Toxics Coalition, the Pacific Coast Federation of
Fishermens Associations, and the Institute for Fisheries Resources. They
are represented by Earthjustice.
The groups are seeking the following interim protections:
A 100-yard no-spray zone to protect salmon from aerial applications of
pesticides near salmon streams;
A 20-yard no-spray zone to protect salmon from ground applications of pesticides
near salmon streams; and a ban on homeowner (non-licensed) use in urban areas
of certain pesticides likely to harm salmon.
Were asking for common-sense protections to reduce pesticide contamination
of our waters while EPA complies with the law, said Erika Schreder of the
Washington Toxics Coalition, a non-profit organization in Seattle, dedicated to
protecting public health and the environment by preventing pollution.
In July, Judge Coughenour ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to initiate
consultations with the National Marine Fisheries Service on protection of salmon
from 54 pesticides. These consultations mark the first step toward ensuring pesticide
use will not wipe out threatened and endangered salmon.
Water monitoring by the U.S. Geological Survey has found extensive evidence of
pesticides in salmon waters, including fourteen pesticides at levels likely to
cause harm. The original lawsuit, decided in July, also cited EPAs own documents
finding that current uses for numerous pesticides are likely to threaten fish
or their habitat. In total, EPAs findings and the U.S. Geological Survey
detections identified 54 pesticides that pose documented threats to salmon.
A report, Poisoned Waters: Pesticide Contamination of Waters and Solutions
to Protect Pacific Salmon, produced by the Washington Toxics Coalition,
is available online at www.watoxics.org.
The no-spray buffers sought in the injunction would apply to the 54 pesticides
in the July court order, and the urban restrictions would apply to products containing
13 selected pesticides that pose particular hazards in urban areas. The groups
are asking the court to put the measures in place while EPA complies with last
Our salmon populations are in decline, and we need swift action to address
the causes of that decline, said Glen Spain of the Pacific Coast Federation
of Fishermens Associations. This is a step toward restoring salmon
that could bring back tens of thousands of fishing jobs and a billion dollar industry
to our region. Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermens Associations
is the West Coasts largest trade organization of commercial-fishing families.
How to help
On a personal basis, individuals can help by buying organic food grown without
pesticides and not using pesticides on their home landscaping and gardens.
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