EPA denies petition to ban M-44 Cyanide devices

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IDAHO FALLS — The United States EPA has denied a petition to ban the use of M-44 Cyanide devices nationally.

The Center for Biological Diversity and a number of environmental groups signed a petition requesting the EPA ban the use of the devices after a March 2017 incident in Pocatello.

Canyon Mansfield, 14, and the family’s yellow Labrador, Casey, were sprayed by an M-44 that killed the dog and temporarily blinded Canyon.

The EPA recently responded to the petition by denying the request.

“Cyanide traps are indiscriminate killers that just can’t be used safely,” Center for Biological Diversity biologist and attorney Collette Adkins said in a news release. “We’ll keep fighting for a permanent nationwide ban, which is the only way to protect people, pets and imperiled wildlife from the EPA’s poison.”

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The petition specifically requested the EPA initiate a special review of sodium cyanide, the chemical pesticide used in the devices.

The EPA told EastIdahoNews.com that the petition was denied because the chemical is already under review.

“EPA intends to publish the ‘Sodium Cyanide Proposed Interim Decision’ in the public docket for comment by the end of the year,” an EPA spokesperson said in an email. “The Proposed Interim Decision will explain the agency’s conclusions about the risks and benefits of the use.”

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The use of M-44 devices in Idaho was banned in 2017 by USDA’s Wildlife Services.

“USDA does not currently use M-44s in Idaho, nor are there any immediate plans to begin using them,” USDA Public Affairs Specialist Tanya Espinosa told EastIdahoNews.com.

Despite that, the Center for Biological Diversity contends the harm caused by M-44 devices outweigh the benefits. They said M-44s killed 13,530 animals in 2016. Of those, 321 were unintended targets such as a black bear, family dogs and raccoons.

Two of those unintended targets were Canyon, who suffered lasting effects from the chemical, and Casey, who lost his life. The Mansfield family is currently undergoing a legal battle with the federal government over the use of M-44 devices.

Those wishing to participate in the open comment period for the Proposed Interim Decision can do so by going epa.gov/dockets and use the docket ID EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0752 to find the Proposed Interim Decision.

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