Non-farming glyphosate weedkiller uses likely harm endangered species, EPA finds

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More than 90% of endangered species are “likely to be adversely affected” by use of glyphosate, but mostly through non-agricultural uses, the Environmental Protection Agency concluded in a draft biological evaluation of the impacts of the herbicide released [Nov 25].

The evaluation was conducted to comply with the Endangered Species Act, which prohibits federal agencies from engaging in actions likely to “jeopardize the continued existence” of threatened or endangered species. EPA is asking for public comments on the evaluation for 60 days.

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Once EPA analyzes the comments it receives, it will issue a final BE determining whether use of glyphosate …. “may affect” ESA-listed listed species or their critical habitats. If so, it will have to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries, which will prepare their own evaluations identifying ways to ameliorate those impacts, including possible restrictions.

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Of 1,795 species it looked at, EPA said it found 1,676, or 93%, were likely to be adversely affected by glyphosate applications. More than half of those (940) are plants.

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“The majority of the moderate evidence designations were based on non-agricultural uses being the main risk drivers and the lack of availability and uncertainty in usage data associated with these use sites,” EPA said in its evaluation.

“Important non-agricultural uses include applications for noxious and invasive weed control in aquatic systems, pastures/rangelands, public lands, forestry, and rights-of-way applications,” EPA said.

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