On September 8, 2011, EPA published a press release announcing that the National Academy of Sciences has convened an Expert Committee to address scientific issues in developing biological opinions for pesticides under the Endangered Species Act.  EPA’s press release explains:

This spring EPA and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Interior requested the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council convene a committee of independent experts to review scientific and technical issues that have arisen as the federal agencies carry out their joint responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. The NAS has now selected the committee members. The NAS committee is expected to begin meetings this fall.

In recent years, the federal agencies’ experience in completing consultations under ESA    for FIFRA-related actions has illustrated a number of scientific issues. As a result, the agencies are seeking NAS’ advice on topics pertaining to approaches in assessing the effects of proposed FIFRA actions on endangered and threatened species and their critical habitats. These topics include: identifying best available scientific data and information; considering sub-lethal, indirect, and cumulative effects; assessing the effects of chemical mixtures and inert ingredients; the use of models to assist in analyzing the effects of pesticide use; incorporating uncertainties into the evaluations effectively; and the use of geospatial information and datasets that can be employed by the agencies in the course of these assessments.

Click here for more information about the NAS review