This event explored the controversy and issues relating to application of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to US EPA's pesticide registration and registration review decisions. In recent years, environmental groups have sued US EPA for allegedly failing to adequately assess the impact of its pesticide decisions on threatened and endangered species and consult with the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) under the ESA, including the "mega suit" filed in 2011 involving hundreds of pesticide ingredients and species. They also have sued US EPA for allegedly failing to implement Biological Opinions (BiOps) issued by the Services. Industry groups have intervened in these lawsuits and also brought their own action against NMFS, which resulted in a decision by the 4th Circuit in 2013 overturning a NMFS BiOp as arbitrary and capricious. In the midst of all the litigation, US EPA and the Services asked the National Academies of Sciences for advice on the ESA consultation requirement, and US EPA and the Services now are working on a new framework for conducting consultations, an effort that industry, agriculture and environmental groups are watching closely. In addition to examining how US EPA's pesticide program has addressed the ESA consultation requirement, our panelists consider edthe key issues raised in the litigation by environmental groups and industry, along with the current effort by US EPA and the Service to improve the consultation process.
Stephen Owens, Of Counsel, Squire Sanders, and Former Assistant Administrator, U.S. EPA (moderator)
William Jordan, Deputy Director, Office of Pesticide Programs, U.S. EPA
Jason Rylander, Senior Staff Attorney, Defenders of Wildlife
Rachel Lattimore, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Secretary, CropLife America