Feb 102015

Environmental groups file motion in 9th Cir. seeking stay of EPA approval

EPA should have consulted with the Fish and Wildlife Service before approving a new herbicide for use in the Midwest, environmental groups and a food safety group argue in a motion filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (NRDC v. EPA, 14-73353).

News release (Earthjustice, Feb. 9)

The request for stay pending review was filed by the Center for Food Safety, National Family Farm Coalition, Pesticide Action Network North America, Beyond Pesticides, Environmental Working Group, and Center for Biological Diversity, and is supported by the Natural Resources Defense Council, which filed its own petition for review.

The herbicide, called Enlist Duo,"is specifically designed and registered to be used on 'Enlist' crops, which are new varieties of corn and soy that have been genetically engineered by Dow [AgroSciences] to withstand both 2,4-D and glyphosate," the petition says. "The technology is marketed as a chemical means to rid fields planted with Enlist corn and soy of unwanted weeds, without damaging the crop itself."

The groups argue that they are likely to win their case because EPA did not consult under the Endangered Species Act's Section 7 about the effects of Enlist Duo on the whooping crane and Indiana bat.

“EPA admits that its approval of a toxic pesticide cocktail including 2,4-D for widespread use may affect endangered species, including the whooping crane, one of the most endangered animals on earth,” said Earthjustice Managing Attorney Paul Achitoff. “We ask only that the court decide whether EPA has violated the law, as we believe it has before putting these imperiled birds at further risk.”

The challenge was filed in the Ninth Circuit in October.


Dow opposition to original motion for stay (1/23/15)

Dow AgroSciences news release (pre-motion) Company "announced quality standards for glyphosate trait stacking with Enlist. The company said it will allow Enlist to be stacked with advanced glyphosate traits only. It will not allow stacking with the first generation of the Roundup Ready® trait."

Jan 162014

The two cranes that were shot (Photo by Ted Thousand, International Crane Foundation)

A reward of $7,200 has been offered for information on the November shooting of a whooping crane in Kentucky.

The crane was rescued but had to be euthanized. Its mate was found dead five miles away Dec. 13.

Investigators believe the incidents are related.

According to the Fish and Wildlife Service news release:

"On November 25, 2013, the International Crane Foundation received a report from a Hopkins County [Kentucky] resident of a whooping crane that appeared to be injured. Initially, the wounded crane was still able to fly, but was extremely weakened, and was rescued on November 27, 2013. Among other injuries, the crane’s upper leg was shattered. Attempts to save the bird were unsuccessful, and the crane identified as 5-09 had to be euthanized."

The whooping crane is the most endangered crane species in the world. Fewer than 500 of them exist in the United States.

“ICF is deeply troubled by the deaths of these whooping cranes. In this imperiled species, every crane counts toward recovery,” ICF President Dr. Richard Beilfuss said. “ICF’s education and outreach… efforts along the flyway are focused on the responsible stewardship of whooping cranes, and our commitment to the future of these magnificent birds remains as strong as ever.”

FWS press release (1/16/14) and ICF press release

Louisville Courier-Journal blog entry by James Bruggers

Red wolf death investigated

FWS and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission are asking for help in their investigation of a suspected shooting of a protected red wolf.

The radio-collared wolf  was found with an apparent gunshot wound on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, southwest of Columbia, in Tyrrell County, North Carolina.

"This is the first red wolf death of 2014," FWS said in a press release. "A total of 14 wild red wolves were known to have died in 2013 including three struck and killed by vehicles, one death as a result of non-management related actions, and nine confirmed or suspected gunshot deaths.  The cause of the remaining wolf’s death is currently undetermined."

FWS red wolf recovery program