FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 15, 2019
Contact: Matt Baca (505) 270-7148
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Today, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas sent a comment
letter to the Environmental Protection Agency, blasting the agency’s apparent attempt to violate the
Endangered Species Act in its rollback of pesticide review requirements meant to prevent harm to
federally endangered species. New Mexico and nine other states, plus the District of Columbia, are
urging EPA to withdraw its ill-conceived rollback.
“New Mexico will not stand by and allow another Trump Administration rollback of environmental
protections to harm our pristine environment and threaten the health and safety of New Mexican
families,” AG Balderas said. “We will continue to fight for our state’s treasured and irreplaceable
natural resources and on behalf of our families.”
The EPA is attempting to use blatant falsehoods and scientific sleights of hand to disregard potential
effects of pesticides on endangered species and to circumvent statutorily-required consultation with
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to determine whether listed species are threatened by pesticide
approvals. AG Balderas’ letter points to no less than nine clear ways EPA’s proposed rollback is
illegal under the ESA.
For example, EPA’s proposal to arbitrarily disregard a one percent overlap between a potential
pesticide use area and a species’ habitat could potentially eliminate 12 stream miles from
consideration in reviews of pesticide effects on the Southwestern willow flycatcher. Twelve miles
exceeds the lengths of four out of eight stream reaches where the endangered bird lives in New
Mexico. Additionally, EPA’s rollback proposes to forego any review at all for endangered species
with no recent sightings—potentially driving nearly-extinct species over the brink.
California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington,
Vermont and the District of Columbia joined New Mexico in signing the letter.