A federal court in the District of Columbia has ruled that EPA violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by registering the rodenticide Rozol® without first consulting the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Defenders of Wildlife v. Jackson, No. 09-1814 (D.D.C. 6/14/11).

Rozol is used in 10 U.S. states to control the black-tailed prairie dog population. EPA allowed the rodenticide to be used in some states starting in 2004 under the “special local need” provision of FIFRA, despite concerns that it might harm other species. EPA registered Rozol® in 2009 and began formally consulting with the FWS in 2010.

Plaintiffs challenged the registration, claiming that it violated the ESA, FIFRA, Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Administrative Procedures Act, and Executive Order No. 13186, a 2001 order on federal responsibilities to prevent harm to migratory birds. The complaint sought declaratory and injunctive relief. The court held that EPA violated the ESA but deferred a decision on whether to issue an injunction. The court was concerned about the potential effects of an injunction on farmers and ranchers in states where the rodenticide was sold.