A. The goal of the ESPP is to carry out responsibilities under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) (PDF) (106 pp, 743 K, about PDF) in compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA), while at the same time not placing unnecessary burden on agriculture and other pesticide users.
Q. How does EPA intend to meet this goal through ESPP?
A. The implementation approach relies on pesticide labels, as appropriate, referring the pesticide user to geographically specific Endangered Species Protection Bulletins that contain enforceable use limitations for a pesticide to ensure its use will not jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species or adversely modify designated critical habitat.
Q. What does all of this mean for me as a pesticide user?
A. Bulletins are enforceable under FIFRA. If you do not follow the label or Bulletin applicable to your pesticide application, whether that failure results in harm to a listed species or not, you would be subject to enforcement under the misuse provisions of FIFRA (section 12(a)(2)(G)). Absent authorized incidental take, you could be liable under section 9 of the ESA for any take that occurs as a result of pesticide application, regardless of whether label provisions were followed. This aspect of listed species protection does not change under the ESPP. Enforcement actions under FIFRA are the responsibility of the EPA, but enforcement of the ESA is the responsibility of the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (jointly referred to as the Services).
Q. When do these changes take effect?
A. Endangered Species Protection Bulletins are enforceable upon reference to them on a pesticide product label. Pesticide users may check for Bulletin availability up to six months before applying a pesticide.
Q. What are Endangered Species Protection bulletins and where can I get a copy?
A. Endangered Species Protection Bulletins (Bulletins) show geographically specific pesticide use limitations to protect listed species or designated critical habitat. Bulletins include a map of the county or parish to which it applies, a description of the species being protected, a list of the pesticides of concern, and their use limitations..
Q. What is the difference between the voluntary county bulletins and these new, enforceable Endangered Species Protection
A. In the past, EPA developed voluntary county bulletins based on consultations with the Services. While these county bulletins are available on EPA’s web site for voluntary use by pesticide applicators, they are not legally enforceable pesticide use limitations. The new Bulletins are referenced on pesticide product labels and are mandatory and enforceable. If geographically specific use limitations are necessary to ensure a pesticide registration complies with the ESA, those use limitations will be relayed to pesticide users through Endangered Species Protection Bulletins referenced on the labels of affected pesticide products. When referenced on a pesticide label, Endangered Species Protection Bulletins are mandatory, enforceable pesticide use limitations.
Q. Will EPA review information in the voluntary county bulletins?
A. EPA is pursuing whether a method exists that is short of a full re-evaluation of each pesticide’s use included in them to validate the information contained in the voluntary county bulletins. If that proves to be possible, EPA intends to pursue public comment on the process before finalizing the method. EPA then intends to incorporate the validated information into enforceable Endangered Species Protection Bulletins, as resources permit.
Q. Can I get a bulletin more than six months in advance?
A. No. Bulletin information may be updated periodically to keep the information accurate and afford endangered species the most up-to-date protection. A six-month timeframe is reasonable for pesticide application planning, and minimal time for implementation of new mitigations and other bulletin updates.
Q. How does EPA determine that a bulletin is necessary?
A. EPA conducts an extensive risk assessment for every chemical registered as a pesticide. During the course of a risk assessment, possible effects to listed species are considered. If the risk assessment identifies potential effects to listed species after analysis of the usage patterns of the pesticide in relation to the location(s) of listed species, mitigation measures are investigated to protect the species. If those mitigations are geographically specific, a Bulletin (or Bulletins) will be developed to put the mitigations into place. These mitigations will be specific to that area(s) in which the species is exposed to the pesticide in question.
MNN Public Information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency