Three federal departments have teamed up to fix a “broken” system of balancing pesticide approvals with protecting endangered species, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Wednesday.
The EPA is forming an interagency task force alongside the Department of the Interior and Department of Commerce to streamline regulations for approving pesticide use. The agencies must register or reject 700 new pesticides by 2022.
“The current Endangered Species Act pesticide consultation process is broken,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement. “Today, the Trump Administration is taking action to improve and accelerate this process, harmonize interagency efforts, and create regulatory certainty for America’s farmers and ranchers.”
The process falls under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, that President Donald Trump’s administration is already targeting as one of the most unworkable and costly parts of the law.
Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah endorsed the action as a “positive step” toward a more rational regulatory system.
“For too long, cumbersome interagency consultations have been an utter disaster for American farmers, family forest operations and businesses, imposing untenable regulatory burdens with little benefit to species,” Bishop, a Republican, said in a statement. “We will be working in partnership with federal agencies to provide even greater statutory authority so that agencies can do their jobs and both species and the economy are protected.”
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