Pesticide Regulation and the Endangered Species Act

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This book addresses the confluence of two great streams of environmental protection and regulation, both geographically situated within a continent of abundant natural resources, incredible biodiversity, and advanced agricultural production technologies. One stream concerns the regulation of pesticides for environmental protection within a risk-benefit paradigm grounded in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) of 1947. The other stream concerns the protection of species that are endangered or threatened with extinction as well as preservation of the ecosystems on which they depend. This stream springs from provisions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973, which requires each federal agency to ensure that any action it takes is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species. Achieving a harmonious, practical convergence of these streams of environmental protection and regulation has proven devilishly difficult during the past four decades. Both FIFRA and ESA regulations provide a strong basis for environmental protections based on scientific assessment, but they were not constructed in a complementary manner which would provide for ready interface. The basis of this book is an emerging spirit of cooperation, increasing commitment to constructive dialogue, and solutions-oriented focus among the key stakeholders. There is a genuine desire on the part of key decision-makers to identify and implement both scientific and process improvements to resolve current areas of impasse.

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