The National Marine Fisheries Service prepares Biological Opinions for EPA’s consideration during EPA’s registration of pesticides. These BiOps are supposed to inform EPA’s consideration of the pesticides’ effects on species listed under the Endangered Species Act. NMFS does not provide any opportunity for public comment on these BiOps. 

To EPA’s credit, the Agency on its own initiative provides opportunities for public comment on BiOps it receives from NMFS. EPA then sends the public comment along with EPA’s own comment to NMFS. There is often no record of whether NMFS considered the comment. See EPA’s letter to NMFS at , for an example of this unsatisfactory process, and the problems it causes.

NMFS cannot know whether it is using the best available scientific and commercial information unless it allows and considers public comment on its BiOps before they are final. NMFS cannot comply with the Transparency requirements of the Information Quality Act unless NMFS publicly responds to public comment.  Without such a public record, the public cannot know NMFS’ reasons for using or rejecting the public comment.

CRE once again commends EPA for trying to compensate for NMFS’ failings. CRE also asks NMFS why it won’t allow public comment on its BiOps.