Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

According to a recent CNN article, a federal judge recently stuck down the Bush administration’s request that the laws surrounding pesticide use be relaxed. Yes, they want MORE pesticides and more liberal use of them. I usually stop myself short when I’m tempted to say that the Bush admin hurts America, but this is clear cut. This request would have directly hurt the health of Americans, and the health of endangered species such as wild salmon.

It was the second time in recent years that U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour chastised federal agencies for failing to follow the Endangered Species Act in licensing pesticides for sale.

In 2001, environmental groups sued over the Environmental Protection Agency’s failure to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before allowing certain pesticides to be sold. Coughenour ordered the EPA to conduct the consultations in determining whether 55 of the pesticides were likely to harm salmon.

Instead, in 2004, the administration created a new rule allowing it to ignore the consultation requirement of the Endangered Species Act. Officials reasoned the EPA should decide on its own whether pesticides were likely to harm protected species.

The environmental groups sued again, and on Thursday, Coughenour threw out the new rule, saying the government could not simply ignore the act’s requirements.

“The administrative record is striking in its total lack of any evidence of technical or scientific support for the policy positions ultimately adopted,” Coughenour wrote.

He noted that in 2004 the EPA asked fisheries service scientists to support its findings that 28 pesticides were not likely to harm protected species.

Oh my. The FDA clearly has forgotten the most basic premises of the scientific method. Am I disappointed? Yes. Surprised? No.

And if you’re curious as to whether pesticides are harmful to people, why not try googling ‘pesticide’ and ‘birth defects.’ Or, check out the pesticide watchdog group Beyond Pesticides.


  1. #1 Robert P
    August 26, 2006

    I believe he already loosened restrictions on arsenic and mercury. But, hey, what’s a little birth defect between friends.

  2. #2 Shelley Batts
    August 26, 2006

    Ugh, its disgusting that this is the same administration that bleeds and sobs for “the unborn” in the abortion arena, yet dangerous chemicals in our food/water/animals we eat which are proven to cause birth defects in “the unborn,” well that just goes under the rug.

  3. #3 DV8 2XL
    August 26, 2006

    Dear God! The most appalling thing about this whole damned right-wing, fundamentalist, anti-environmental ideological morass that the West has fallen into, is that it is my generation, the ones that burnt campuses and marched and rioted against much of the same nonsense is at the root of it.

    What the hell happened?

    If we had seen in ’67 what we’d become we would have committed mass suicide on the spot.

    I can’t begin to describe how humiliated, and betrayed I feel.

  4. #4 kemibe
    August 26, 2006

    If the U.S. Department of the Interior — a florid, not-so-funny joke at this point — can be used as a gauge of the state of an administration’s concern for the environment, all bets are off. Gale Norton was an incompetent shithead and Jack Abramoff pal (and speaking of destroying salmon populations, Google her name and “Klamath River” together) and Dirk Kempthorne, who took over for Norton in May, has a history of representing extraction-industry interests (and taking their campaign money) and is loud critic of the Endangered Species Act; he won’t be much, if any, better. Why not just put the Florida sugar barons, McMansion-happy land developers and oil companies directly in charge?

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