The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has published its ESA biological opinion for three organophosphate pesticides being reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  NMFS’ BiOp is part of EPA’s regulation of the pesticides under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. NMFS’ published the following statement about this BiOp:

“NMFS provided the EPA with its final Biological Opinion addressing EPA’s registration of three chemicals – Chlorpyrifos, Diazinon, and Malathion – per a court ordered deadline.

On November 9, 2017, per NMFS request and EPA’s agreement, the Department of Justice requested a time extension with the court to complete our biological opinion on EPA’s registration of chlorpyrifos, malathion, and diazinon. Sam Rauch, NMFS’ Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs submitted a declaration describing the reasons for this time extension request.

Those reasons included concerns raised by EPA, FWS, and stakeholders regarding a variety of technical and methodological issues that will require lengthier and more intensive inter-agency collaborative work to address. Getting more time would have also allowed NMFS to engage with the public and stakeholders on a draft biological opinion prior to issuance of a final biological opinion, as originally planned and as recommended by the National Academies of Sciences.

Unfortunately, NMFS did not receive the requested extension and was required to transmit the biological opinion which, given the time, cannot fully account for the need to coordinate on a different process for developing such opinions or to fully engage the public.

NMFS recognizes that this biological opinion is only part of the extensive investments that EPA, FWS, and NMFS have made towards Endangered Species Act consultations.

Although NMFS has been required to issue this biological opinion sooner than desired, NMFS remains committed to working with EPA and FWS to improve the ESA section 7 consultation process.”

Click here for NMFS’ statement and BiOp.