A request to stop the approval of a Dow herbicide called “Enlist Duo” has been filed by a coalition of environmental groups and farmers. This action is called a motion to stay in legal jargon. The coalition felt it was necessary to challenge the EPA’s October 2014 decision to approve the new herbicide. It is intended to be used on genetically engineered crops in six Midwestern states.
The coalitions says the EPA violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to consult with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and tell them that “Enlist Duo” could harm two endangered species, the Whooping Crane and the Indiana bat.
“EPA admits that its approval of a toxic pesticide cocktail including 2,4-D for widespread use may affect endangered species, including the whooping crane, one of the most endangered animals on earth. We ask only that the Court decide whether EPA has violated the law, as we believe it has before putting these imperiled birds at further risk,” explained Earthjustice Managing Attorney Paul Achitoff.
There were only about 21 wild whooping cranes in the 1940s, because their habitats had been destroyed and disrupted. Also, they were too often shot by hunters for no particular reason. Today, there are about 600, but that number is still very low. Some say it is dangerously low, and that not enough is done to protect them, though the Endangered Species Act is supposed to do that.
If the act is not properly enforced, wild animals such as Whooping Cranes will not be adequately protected and therefore they may be driven into extinction.
Dow Chemical is a very large corporation with many products and huge revenues. In 2011, net sales were $60 billion dollars.
What chance do 600 whooping cranes have against such a powerful corporation and its lobbyists? It would be fascinating to find out if Dow has donated any money at all, ever, for the conservation of any endangered species potentially impacted by its chemical products.
Indiana bats were listed as endangered in 1967. Even so, their numbers have declined by more than 50% due to human behavior.
Image Credits: USDA and Rich Fields