Petrochemicals and big agribusiness are dirty industries. The pesticides they produce and use end up in our waterways and pollute our wild places.
Pesticides cause severe reproductive and developmental harm, cancer or even death in imperiled wildlife. The toxins can also move up the food chain -- potentially ending up on our families' food and water.
Instead of owning up to these dangers, the chemical industry is trying to use the farm bill to roll back the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act -- to make it easier to pollute our environment with pesticides.
Right now the Clean Water Act provides simple requirements to monitor where pesticides are applied and prevent pesticide pollution in waterways. The Endangered Species Act has common-sense rules protecting wildlife from pesticide poisoning, especially those animals that are extra-sensitive to pesticides.
Take action now to tell your senators to protect our wildlife and waterways from pesticides and vote against dangerous amendments in the farm bill.
I strongly urge you to oppose current efforts to include any policy riders in the 2013 Farm Bill that would amend the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act or Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act to limit protections for our waterways and endangered wildlife from pesticide discharges.
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More than a billion pounds of pesticides are applied each year in the United States. A 10-year USGS study revealed that more than 90 percent of the waters and fish tested across the country are contaminated with pesticides. This level of pollution is unacceptable -- it puts human health and ecosystems at grave risk. Pesticides discharged into our waterways harm fish and amphibians, and can move up the food chain to humans; they are known to contaminate drinking-water supplies.
Please don't undercut the Environmental Protection Agency's ongoing efforts to control and limit the amount of toxic pesticides that enter our waterways under the Clean Water Act. Without the Act, the agency has almost no tools to protect our waterways from being degraded by pesticide pollution -- FIFRA does not limit the total amount of pesticides used in a particular body of water.
Please also keep the Endangered Species Act completely intact. Pesticides can cause reproductive harm, cancer and other health problems in sensitive wildlife; the Endangered Species Act's common-sense protections require the EPA to consult with wildlife experts at the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service when pesticides may affect endangered species.
The Farm Bill should promote conservation in the United States -- not weaken it by sneaking in legislative riders as a favor to special interests. I urge you to oppose any effort to use this bill as an opportunity to weaken our core environmental laws. Thank you for your action on this critical issue.