As part of a settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity, the Environmental Protection Agency will be forced to study the impacts of the two most commonly used herbicides on endangered plants and animals within the United States.

The Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places, filed a lawsuit with the EPA for not studying the effects of pesticides and herbicides on endangered species. The nonprofit also agreed to a settlement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requiring the agency to analyze impacts on endangered species across the country from five pesticides.

The EPA will now analyze the impacts of atrazine and glyphosate. The agency will complete the assessments by June 2020. Atrazine has been linked to an increased risk of birth defects. Glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp, has also been called “probably carcinogenic” by the World Health Organization.

Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said the settlement was “the first step to reining in the widespread use of dangerous pesticides that are harming both wildlife and people.”

“This settlement will finally force the EPA to consider the impacts of glyphosate — widely known as Roundup — which is the most commonly used pesticide in the United States, on endangered species nationwide,” said Hartl.

The EPA has not studied the ecological impacts of glyphosate since 1993.

In other herbicide news, the EPA also rejected a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), that was seeking a review of glyphosate “to prevent unreasonable adverse effects” to the monarch butterfly.

“The agency at this time has not determined that glyphosate causes unreasonable adverse effects to the monarch butterfly,” noted EPA in its response. The EPA highlighted the fact that President Obama recently launched the White House Pollinator Task Force Plan.

Agri-Pulse reports that the NRDC also sued the EPA in October in an attempt to block the approval of Monsanto and DOW’s Enlist Duo herbicide, which they say is also responsible for the loss of monarch butterflies. The product is a combination of glyphosate and another herbicide known as 2,4-D.

NRDC said in a statement that since 1993 use of glyphosate “has increased 10-fold, yet the agency has never considered the herbicide’s impact on monarchs.”

 

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