Previously, we reported on the latest chapter in the decade-long dispute between environmental groups, federal agencies, and pesticide manufacturers over the impact of pesticides on the Pacific Northwest’s listed salmon populations. The next chapter is scheduled for October 24, 2012, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will hear oral argument in DowAgrosciences LLC v. National Marine Fisheries Service. In that case, a consortium of pesticide manufacturers are arguing that a Biological Opinion (BiOp) issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is flawed. As we reported here, the lower court upheld the BiOp.
The BiOp at issue concluded that the continued authorization and use of certain pesticides in the Pacific Northwest is jeopardizing the continued existence of a number of protected salmonid species. This conclusion in the challenged BiOp -- along with the accompanying reasonable and prudent alternative -- is a cornerstone for the environmental group’s case in Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides v. EPA. Thus, if the Fourth Circuit decides that the BiOp is, in fact, flawed, this could prove to be a decisive victory for the pesticide manufacturers.