Battle stems from Rozol registration for prairie dogs

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

The Natural Resources Defense Council has joined the fray over the registration of the blood-thinning poison Rozol.

NRDC has filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency over its registration of Rozol for use on prairie dogs.

It would be the second lawsuit of its type. The first was filed late last year by Audubon of Kansas and Defenders of Wildlife.

Much as NRDC is doing in its suit, Audubon and Defenders contend EPA filed to confer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the secondary effects of the chemical.

At about the same time as the Audubon lawsuit was filed, the EPA initiated a review of its Rozol registration decision. It also is reviewing a request to allow the use of Kaput-D, an insecticide-laced blood thinning poison, on prairie dogs.

NRDC senior attorney Niel Lawrence, who filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington, said the case is asking for withdrawal of the registration until a complete review is made and the Fish and Wildlife Service is consulted.

Lawrence said the lawsuit was filed on behalf of its members, many of whom are in "prairie dog country."

No hearing dates have been set, he said, but the U.S. Attorney's Office has agreed to administratively answer the case by the end of August.

The 15-page lawsuit echoes many of the issues that were first raised by Audubon and Defenders, detailing the danger of dead and dying prairie dogs being consumed by other animals.

Both the FWS and EPA, the lawsuit said, "could harm a broad range of federally protected species."

FWS has officially objected to the registration and has requested an inter-agency review.

Specifically, NRDC is asking the court to overturn a May 13, 2009, registration of Rozol, which contains chlorophacinone in 10 states, including Kansas.

EPA failed, NRDC claims, to publish federal notice of the registration application, solicit comments or public notice of its intent to register the product for use on prairie dogs.