Overnight Energy: EPA finds three pesticides could harm endangered species

Overnight Energy: EPA finds three pesticides could harm endangered species
© Greg Nash

TGIF!! Welcome to Overnight Energy  — your source for the day’s energy and environment news. 

Please send tips and comments to Rachel Frazin at rfrazin@thehill.com. Follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin. Reach Zack Budryk at zbudryk@thehill.com or follow him at @BudrykZack.

Today we’re looking at an EPA decision on three insecticides, John KerryJohn KerryQueen Elizabeth resting 'for a few days' after hospital stay Twenty-four countries say global net-zero goal will fuel inequality Queen Elizabeth recognizes Kerry from video message: 'I saw you on the telly' MORE’s negotiations with Beijing on coal, and Tropical Storm Ida making the jump to hurricane.


INSECTICIDE SQUAD: EPA determines three agricultural insecticides could threaten endangered species

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday released draft evaluations identifying three common agricultural insecticides as likely harmful to the majority of endangered plants and animals, including all 38 endangered amphibians.

In the studies, the EPA identified three insecticides, all part of a group known as neonicotinoids: clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. The three are used for ornamental vegetation as well as crops and turf. According to the draft evaluations, each of the three meet the criteria for “likely to adversely affect" (LAA) at least one endangered or protected species.  

And it’s not just frogs and salamanders: The neonicotinoids in question affect endangered and protected species at varying levels, according to the EPA. Imidacloprid will likely adversely affect 1,445 plant and animal species, nearly 80 percent of all species, and affect 658 species’ designated critical habitats, according to the agency.

It found thiamethoxam will likely adversely affect 1,396 endangered species and adversely modify 644 species’ critical habitats. Meanwhile, clothianidin was deemed likely to adversely affect 1,225 species and adversely modify 644 species’ habitats.

The finding left some calling for action: Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said the assessments indicated the need for aggressive action on the agency’s part.

“Knowing what they know now about the gravity of the impacts these pesticides have on endangered species, they should work to restrict their uses in the places where they are having the most impact,” Burd told The Hill. This could include steps such as labeling changes that ban the use of the pesticides in protected amphibian habitats.

Read more about the findings here


STOP! IN THE NAME OF CLIMATE: Kerry reportedly to press China to declare moratorium on coal financing

John Kerry, President BidenJoe BidenRand Paul calls for Fauci's firing over 'lack of judgment' Dems look to keep tax on billionaires in spending bill Six big off-year elections you might be missing MORE’s special envoy for climate, is reportedly looking to push China to issue a moratorium on financing coal projects during a trip to the country next week. 

The Wall Street Journal reported the plans, citing people familiar with the matter, one of whom said that U.S. officials are looking for China to declare a formal pause as Beijing has yet to fund any new foreign coal plants or investments this year.

This is the first year Beijing has not launched new funding for foreign coal projects since 2013, when it launched its Belt and Road Initiative focused on developing global infrastructure to connect East Asia in new ways to areas in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. 

But it might not work: The Journal reported that people familiar with Chinese leaders’ thinking said they do not want to appear as though they are submitting to pressure from the West, instead looking to set their own standards on fighting climate change. 

Additionally, the sources close to the Chinese policymakers said that despite some movements indicating openness to combating climate change, Beijing is still looking to portray itself as an advocate for developing countries that wish to continue using coal.

Read more about the reported push here.


IDA KNOW: Tropical Storm Ida upgrades to hurricane, expected to hit US Gulf Coast

Tropical Storm Ida upgraded to a hurricane on Friday before making landfall in Cuba with a projection of hitting the U.S. Gulf Coast by Sunday.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) announced Ida was upgraded to a hurricane with winds of 75 miles per hour.

It made landfall in early Friday afternoon in Cuba's Isle of Youth with the center of the Hurricane currently approaching western Cuba, according to the NHC.


Hurricane warnings have been issued for some parts of the northern Gulf Coast as the U.S. braces for the hurricane to move towards Louisiana. 

The NHC says that over the next 24 to 36 hours, the storm will undergo a “period of rapid strengthening” and that it could be a Category 4 storm. 

It also said that Mississippi and Louisiana could see the storm by Sunday with flooding “10 to 15 feet above ground level” possible.

Meanwhile, on Friday, President Biden also approved an emergency declaration for Louisiana. 

Read more about the hurricane here.




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A CO2 pipeline in Mississippi ruptured last year, sickening dozens of people. What does it forecast for the massive proposed buildout of pipelines across the U.S.? HuffPost reports

Exxon Mobil's Erik Oswald looks to prove credibility on carbon tax support after 'gutting' lobbyist sting video, The Washington Examiner reports

Trump EPA ignored scientists’ warnings on Miss. project: Docs, E&E News reports

Energy companies race to complete Gulf of Mexico evacuations, Reuters reports