US EPA finds that glyphosate may affect endangered species

14:09 PM | December 1, 2020 | Sanjiv Rana

A new draft biological evaluation from the US EPA finds that the herbicide, glyphosate, “is likely to adversely affect a significant percent of endangered species and critical habitats”. The draft assessment, which has been issued for a 60-day public comment period, is the next step in the EPA’s ongoing regulatory review of the active ingredient. In January, the EPA reaffirmed its view that glyphosate is not a carcinogen and finalised its decision to reregister the ai. That decision was immediately challenged by lawsuits from environmentalist and farmworker groups.

Biological evaluations are the beginning of the EPA’s consultation process under the Endangered Species Act, where the Agency determines whether a pesticide may affect one or more individuals of a listed species and their designated critical habitats. The EPA will finalise the glyphosate evaluation after the public comment period. If it decides that the ai may affect a listed species or its critical habitat, it will consult with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Their conclusions could lead to proposals for either generic or geographically specific use restrictions on the herbicide if these are considered necessary to prevent harm to listed species or habits.
Glyphosate is used on about 298 million acres (121 million ha) of agricultural crop land every year in the US, and is effective and affordable, the EPA notes.