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For months, chemical companies have waged a campaign to reverse findings by federal fisheries scientists that could curb the use of pesticides based on the threat they pose to endangered species. They scored a major victory this week, when Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced he would press another federal agency to revisit a recent opinion triggering such restrictions.

The struggle over an arcane provision of the Endangered Species Act, in which the EPA must affirm that the pesticides it oversees do not put species’ survival in jeopardy, has become the latest front in the battle over a broad-spectrum insecticide known as chlorpyrifos. Pruitt denied a petition to ban its agricultural use after questioning EPA scientists’ conclusions that exposure impedes brain development in infants and fetuses.

Speaking to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture on Wednesday, Pruitt said he plans to inform the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Fisheries Service “that there needs to be a consultation because we have usage data, frankly, that wasn’t considered.”

Scott Pruitt pushes back on finding that would restrict pesticides’ use to protect fish

The latest battle over chlorpyrifos and other products pits the EPA against the Endangered Species Act.


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