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Greens Claim Pesticides Are Hurting Fish

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is allowing pesticides to threaten the imperiled Delta smelt and Alameda whipsnake, the Center for Biological Diversity claims in court.

The environmental group claims Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to complete interagency consultation on the effects of three pesticides on the two endangered species in the California Bay Delta.

The pesticides named are atrazine, alachlor and 2,4-D.

The Environmental Protection Agency requested a formal consultation with Fish and Wildlife Service in February 2009, on the pesticides' likely harmful effects on the species. Such consultations are required by Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.

Nearly six years later, Fish and Wildlife has still not completed the consultation, according to the lawsuit.

The Center for Biological Diversity estimates that the smelt could become extinct within 20 years, and says pesticides severely affect the whipsnake's food chain.

Atrazine, one of the most commonly detected pesticides in water across the nation, hurts development of sexual organs in amphibians, and alachlor and 2,4-D are highly toxic to freshwater fish and invertebrates, the environmental group claims.

It seeks declaratory relief, ants Fish and Wildlife ordered to complete the consultation, and the pesticides' use restricted until the consultation is completed.

It is represented by house attorney Justin Augustine.

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