Endangered Species Act

GCSAA shares in EPA's commitment to ensure that actions carried out by it and other federal agencies should not harm endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of their critical habitat. GCSAA and its members have long-standing support, involvement and implementation of environmental stewardship programs that protect wildlife species and habitat throughout the U.S. GCSAA supports EPA and USDA working with federal fish and wildlife agencies to promulgate new rules that establish clear and equitable procedures for notice and comment on the EPA’s pesticide effects determinations for endangered species and subsequent actions including draft Biological Opinions and potential product restrictions. The new consultation process should be responsible, streamlined and sustainable.

GCSAA supports language in the 2018 Farm Bill that would streamline the consultation process between federal agencies under the ESA and would also limit the abilities of litigation efforts to cause unnecessary delays and burdens in the pesticide registration process.

GCSAA also supports implementation of the Trump Administration’s Jan. 31, 2018 Memorandum of Agreement between EPA-Interior-Commerce which establishes an interagency Working Group to evaluate and improve the Endangered Species Act consultation process for pesticide registration.

To meet the conservation and species recovery goals of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs must consult on each "action" to register or re-register a pesticide use. This consultation process is outlined in Section 7 of the ESA. During the past 35+ years, EPA has not successfully implemented ESA obligations for pesticides. However, it has been EPA’s intention to integrate ESA into the Registration Review process. Instead, activist-driven litigation is now driving the ESA consultation process for pesticides.

The ESA Section 7 consultation process is flawed and the lack of a clear and transparent ESA consultation process is seriously jeopardizing the availability and use of effective products to the golf industry. In 2011, EPA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and NMFS asked the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to evaluate the ESA consultation review process for pesticide registration actions related to endangered species. In November 2013, the NAS released its much anticipated report on pesticides and endangered species stating that EPA, the NMFS, and the FWS should use a common approach when determining the potential effects a pesticide has on an endangered species and its environment. In 2014, the EPA began holding workshops to provide a forum for stakeholders to offer scientific and technical feedback on the joint interim approaches issued in November 2013. These stakeholder meetings continued throughout 2015.

The most serious challenge to the integrity of pesticide registrations approved under FIFRA is ESA litigation. The new ESA consultation process as currently coordinated between EPA, USDA and other agencies has led to a years-long evaluation process of over 30,000 pages of material for the first three pesticides alone. This new assessment process is time consuming, costly and not practical. It will cost hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars and take decades to complete. But it is currently the template of what it takes to conduct an ESA consultation for pesticide products.

  • Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE)
  • Pesticide Policy Coalition (PPC)

In February 2011, GCSAA submitted comments to EPA in support of a petition filed by Growers for ESA Transparency (GET) that asked EPA to establish “clear and equitable procedures” for stakeholder comment during the Endangered Species Act consultation process for EPA pesticide registrations.

GCSAA launched nationwide grassroots campaigns in March and May of 2011 in response to EPA seeking input on the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) draft measures to protect endangered Pacific salmon from six pesticides. The draft Reasonable and Prudent Measures (RPMs) and Alternatives (RPAs) included in the NFMS’ draft Biological Opinion include proposed new use restrictions on chlorothalonil and 2, 4-D not based on sound science.