In a ruling that represents a victory for environmental activists, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered the Fish and Wildlife Service to halt hazardous pesticide use including the use of neocintoids in four Midwestern States.
“By no later than APRIL 15, 2015, Defendants shall file a Notice indicating the extent to which neonicotinoid pesticides are currently used on the five challenged refuges and where those pesticides are used. Assuming that these pesticides are currently used—or Defendants plan for them to be used—this claim is remanded to the agency to devise a plan to phase out their use as soon as practicable, but no later than January 1, 2016.”http://www.peer.org/assets/docs/nwr/3_17_15_GE_refuge_court_ruling.pdf
The federal complaint was filed by the Center for Food Safety (CFS), Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), Sierra Club and Beyond Pesticides and requested that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service halt the use of pesticides until a rigorous environmental impact study has been completed.
“The court found that neonicotinoid pesticides so upset the natural balance a refuge is supposed to safeguard that a thorough site-specific environmental assessment is required before these potent agents can be used,” said PEER Senior Counsel Paula Dinerstein, noting that neonics are now widely used in U.S. agriculture and even in backyard gardens. “This was not a complete victory, as the court found that the Service’s mismanagement of refuges did not always sink to the level of illegality – a very low bar indeed.”
“The decision makes clear that FWS must analyze the specific impacts genetically engineered crops will have on each unique refuge environment before approving them,” said Paige Tomaselli, senior attorney for Center for Food Safety. “FWS can no longer get away with after-the-fact environmental risk analysis on our fragile wildlife refuges.”
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility
Center for Food Safety