Court Denies EPA’s Attempt to Dismiss Lawsuit on the Use of Toxic Pesticides

Federal Agency Ignored Legal Mandate to Evaluate Impact of Neonics on Wildlife

WASHINGTON – A federal court denied the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to force the agency to include Endangered Species Act considerations in the process to approve new neonicotinoid pesticides, which are controversial due to concerns about their impacts on bees and wildlife. 

Following is a quote from Rebecca Riley, Legal Director for the Nature Program at NRDC.
"At a moment when birds, bees, and other species are disappearing at alarming rates, the federal government needs to pay close attention to the impact its pesticide approvals have on vulnerable wildlife. We are learning more about how toxic chemicals like neonic pesticides contaminate our soil and water and damage  ecosystems. With the case now moving forward, we will continue to fight to ensure that EPA gives these species the full protections required by law.”

In 2017, NRDC filed a lawsuit challenging the EPA’s registration of products containing neonic pesticides. The lawsuit demanded that EPA comply with the Endangered Species Act and evaluate the impact pesticides have on threatened and endangered species. In the past 25 years, the EPA approved thousands of neonic pesticide products that are highly toxic to wildlife. Widespread neonic use has contributed to global bee die-offs, with a large and growing body of evidence now demonstrating their devastating impact on a broad range of wildlife, including birds and aquatic species. Although the harms are dispersed across ecosystems, often, threatened and endangered species are put at the greatest risk. 

Neonics are neurotoxic insecticides, designed to kill insects by attacking their nerve cells. Neonics are systemic, meaning they dissolve in water and are absorbed by plants, making their plant’s nectar, pollen, and fruit toxic. Neonics are the most popular insecticides in the U.S. and can be found in lawn and garden bug sprays, flea and tick treatments for pets and livestock, and food grown in farms across the country. 

More info on neonic impacts on the landscape:


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC


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