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Thursday, July 11, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Feds Sued Again for Failing to Protect Frog

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The Center for Biological Diversity claims the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Environmental Protection Agency blew off their nondiscretionary duty - and a court order - to protect the threatened California red-legged frog from pesticide poisoning.

The Fish and Wildlife Service listed the frog as threatened and put it on the Endangered Species in 1996.

In its federal complaint, the Center for Biological Diversity claims the two agencies failed to complete consultation proceedings on a list of 64 pesticides the EPA determined might cause harm to wildlife.

The interagency consultation was required under terms of the 2005 ruling for the plaintiff, where the court found that the EPA failed to consult with Fish and Wildlife about use of harmful pesticides.

Between 2007 and 2009 the EPA requested formal consultation from Fish and Wildlife on the 64 pesticides it had determined might pose a risk to the California red-legged frog. In 2009, Fish and Wildlife refused to consult on 41 of the poisons, including glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup), diazinon, and malathion, according to the complaint.

The Center for Biological Diversity claims the agencies have failed to complete consultation on the other 23 pesticides as well.

"FWS asked EPA for further information and analysis that FWS deemed necessary to initiate the consultation process, and EPA has failed to provide it to FWS' satisfaction," the complaint states. "Instead of the timely flow of information between the agencies, as required by regulation, the consultation process has become indefinitely delayed."

Under the Endangered Species Act, both agencies must complete the consultation process within 90 days after initiation unless the agencies mutually agree to extend the deadline. No such agreement has been reached in the 4 years since the consultation was initiated, the Center says.

It seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, including an order that the consultation processed be completed and use of the pesticides in red-legged frog habitat be prohibited until the agencies' findings are complete.

The Center is represented by its staff attorneys Justin Augustine and Collette Adkins, and by Michael Graf of El Cerrito.

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