EPA Upholds Pesticide Ban—Lions Still Imperiled
Responsible for killing millions of migratory birds, contaminating drinking water and causing health problems in exposed workers, the deadly pesticide carbofuran is no longer legal to use on U.S. food crops. Defenders fought for years to have the insecticide banned. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agreed in 2008. But the manufacturer, FMC Corporation, pressured the EPA to reverse its decision. Last October, the agency announced it would stick to its guns and a ban on food uses went into effect December 31 (although FMC is still fighting the decision). Here’s the bad news: The deadly neurotoxin is still being manufactured in the United States for export and is widely used in Africa, where it is decimating already-endangered lion populations.
North Carolina Bridge Goes Nowhere
It’s not the road less traveled but it could be called the road most washed out: Highway 12 across North Carolina’s Pea Island. Following another wash-out caused by last fall’s tropical storm Ida, Defenders is again calling for state officials to build a safer emergency route for Outer Banks residents and tourists—one that is not dependent on the section of highway running through Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. One of the country’s last undeveloped barrier islands—which protect coasts from storms—Pea Island serves as habitat for sea turtles and migrating birds. They are dependent on the island’s marshes, which need periodic flooding to replenish nutrients. The state spends up to $1 million a year keeping the road navigable. In 2003 government agencies agreed that a bridge bypass made sense and would be cheaper in the long run, but political pressure eroded the plan for the bridge.
Defenders Sues to Protect Water and Wildlife
Defenders called the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to task in September, announcing its intent to sue based on the agency’s 26-year delay to set more stringent limits on coal ash discharges—as required under the Clean Water Act. Coal ash is a hazardous byproduct of coal-fired power plants notorious for contaminating groundwater and surface water. It has particularly devastating effects on aquatic creatures and other animals that feed on these creatures.