One of the goals of the Save The Frogs Day Rally in DC was to get the attention of the US EPA, who holds the power to ban Atrazine and whose mission it is to protect environmental and human health. In this regard (and every other I can think of!), the rally was a huge success. The EPA heard about the rally, and last Friday I gave a 50-minute presentation on amphibian conservation to 10 members of the EPA’s Pesticide Division in Arlington, VA. I spoke about the threats amphibians face, the importance of protecting amphibians and the problems with Atrazine. I showed pictures from the rally and also delivered our petition with the signatures of 10,012 SAVE THE FROGS! supporters calling for a federal ban on the use and production of Atrazine. I also delivered 16 pages of my favorite comments collected from the petition signatories.
Though Atrazine did not get banned at the conclusion of our meeting, I was extremely pleased with the reception I received and feel confident that we are on the path towards a federal Atrazine ban: ten of the most important people in the EPA now know and care more about frogs than they did a week ago, and our petition to ban Atrazine will soon be submitted to the Federal Register along with an official call for comments period.
Unfortunately, the rules under which the EPA is forced to operate do not make it easy to ban an approved pesticide. The soonest it seems they would ban Atrazine is 2013 — when the official review period begins. In the meantime, they will be working to ensure that all the available science (6,000 studies) has been thoroughly reviewed so that the review period is completed as rapidly as possible. SAVE THE FROGS! will continue to raise awareness of the issue in order to gain widespread public support for a ban, and I will be sure to attend next year’s Scientific Advisory Panel hearings on the ecological effects of Atrazine. We will also begin working at the city, county and state level, and for this we will soon seek your assistance!
I want to thank everybody who signed the petition, and also thank the Center for Biological Diversity and the Natural Resources Defense Council, whose supporters sent over 70,000 letters to the EPA in recent weeks in support of a ban on Atrazine. The fight for an Atrazine-free USA is not over, but our voices have been heard!