Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, March 27, 2023


Lori Ann Burd, (971) 717-6405,

Lawsuit Launched Against Biden Administration Over Failure to Act on Petition to Prohibit Pesticides in Endangered Species Critical Habitat

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity today filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to respond to a January 2019 petition to prohibit nearly all uses of pesticides in areas designated as critical habitat for endangered species.

Since the petition was submitted, the Environmental Protection Agency has released more than a dozen assessments finding that various pesticides are causing grave harm to many of the nation’s most endangered plants and animals. But the Service has failed to put in place any on-the-ground conservation measures to protect species from the pesticides.

“By ignoring the massive threat pesticides pose the Fish and Wildlife Service is pushing many of our most endangered plants and animals to the brink of extinction,” said Lori Ann Burd, the Center’s environmental health director. “We provided a common-sense roadmap for how to protect the most imperiled species in their most important habitats, but the Service hasn’t even bothered to respond.”

The petition calls for the agency to use its authority under the Endangered Species Act to proactively put in place measures to protect endangered wildlife from harmful pesticides.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has long recognized that pesticides pose extensive threats to endangered species. Recovery plans for 250 endangered species specifically identify pesticides as a known threat and obstacle to their recovery.

The Service continues to add plants and animals to the Endangered Species list with pesticides identified as a threat, including when the California spotted owl was listed just last month.

The EPA has approved about 1,100 pesticides. In its most recent draft assessment on the impacts of the pesticide cyantraniliprole, to endangered species, it found that the insecticide is likely to adversely affect 635 of the 1,718 listed species; is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of 68 listed species; and is likely to harm the designated critical habitat of 112 species.

“Until the Service musters the political will to do its most important work, endangered species will continue to suffer,” said Burd. “Pesticides are fueling the extinction crisis, but the agency charged with preventing extinctions continues to do nothing about pesticides. This petition gives them a concrete plan for action that would have immediate on-the-ground benefits for endangered plants and animals.”

California spotted owls/Brett Hart, Center for Biological Diversity Image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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