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Environmentalists say they may sue over fire retardant practices

by Jon Robinson (webmaster) |

"An environmental group has warned the U.S. Forest Service that it intends to sue unless the agency comes into compliance with environmental laws covering the use of fire retardant while fighting wildfires.

The Forest Service uses 15 million gallons of fire retardant in an average year fighting wildfires. Most of it is dumped out of air tankers and some retardant falls into creeks and kills threatened and endangered fish, shellfish and crustaceans, said Andy Stahl of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics, based in Eugene.

The agency has failed to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or NOAA Fisheries under the Endangered Species Act to update guidelines for dropping fire retardant around waterways in light of new studies showing how deadly the compound can be, Stahl added..."