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Analysis: The New Farm Bill's Pesticide Provisions Are a Sneak Attack on the Environment

For both humans and wildlife, the Republican reauthorization of the Farm Bill would usher in the weakest federal protections against pesticide abuse since Silent Spring

If fish could wail, they would scream over the lethal powers granted to the Environmental Protection Agency in part of the draft Farm Bill recently rolled out by the House Agriculture Committee.

The bill, passed out of committee by Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) on a party-line vote last month, desperately fails farmers and low-income families. It also contains a number of sneak attacks on the environment. One such provision would allow the EPA to approve new pesticides with no assessment of their potential impact on fish and wildlife covered under the Endangered Species Act.

That means that EPA would no longer need to wait for independent research on the toxicity of pesticides in rivers, wetlands and prairies from the US Fish and Wildlife Service in the Interior Department, or in estuaries and coastal waters from the National Marine Fisheries Service in the Commerce Department.

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