Southwest Farm Press reports that the Plaintiffs and Defendants in Center for Biological Diversity et al v. Environmental Protection Agency et al have filed a joint status report requesting a 30-day continuation of the stay of the litigation and the postponement of the October 14 status conference until November 18.
The lawsuit kicked off in January of this year, when the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) filed a complaint against the EPA for “its failure to consult with federal wildlife agencies regarding the impacts of hundreds of pesticides known to be harmful to more than 200 endangered and threatened species,” according to a CBD press release. The press release calls the lawsuit “the most comprehensive legal action ever brought under the Endangered Species Act to protect imperiled species from pesticides.”
The specific relief requested by the plaintiffs is as follows:
1. Declare that EPA is violating Section 7(a)(2) of the ESA by failing to consult with the Service [United States Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) and National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS”) (collectively “Service”)] concerning effects of pesticides on the endangered and threatened species and critical habitat identified herein;
2. Order EPA to begin or reinitiate consultation pursuant to Section 7(a)(2) of the ESA on the effects of pesticides identified herein on the endangered and threatened species and critical habitats identified herein in an expeditious fashion;
3. Order appropriate restrictions on the use of the identified pesticides where they may affect endangered and threatened species and critical habitats until the consultation process has been completed and EPA has brought its pesticide registrations into compliance with Section 7(a)(2) of the ESA;
4. Award Plaintiffs’ costs, including reasonable attorneys’ fees and expert witness fees; and
5. Grant Plaintiffs such additional and further relief as the Court may deem just and appropriate.
In June more than 130 organizations and business banded together with CBD and PANNA and sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson echoing the demands of the lawsuit:
“Specifically, we ask the EPA to immediately initiate formal consultations under the Endangered Species Act with federal wildlife agencies regarding the impacts of pesticides known to be harmful to hundreds of federally threatened and endangered species.”
Yet the letter also implores the EPA to take action without being compelled: “Rather than waiting for a court order, the EPA should comply with its statutory responsibility and revise its pesticide review program to incorporate input from federal wildlife agencies.”
The parties in the lawsuit have been exploring the possibility of settlement since May, but as of now, no substantive agreements have been reached.