Washington (September 15, 2023) - Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congressman Joe Neguse (CO-02) penned a letter to Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Director of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Dave Applegate, urging maintenance of the USGS Pesticide National Synthesis Project. The USGS Pesticide National Synthesis Project, part of the larger National Water Quality Assessment Project, has produced robust pesticide use estimates throughout every watershed in the country at the State and county level, annually since 1992.

Since 2020, the Department of Interior scaled back and analyzed a reduced list of pesticides through this program, resulting in decreased amounts of data which has affected federal, state, and local management, research, and public health efforts. This data has been essential to implementing USGS water quality projects and studies, including to predict concentrations of pesticides in streams and groundwater, to examine the transport of pesticides through the atmosphere in air and rain samples, and to forecast water quality based on historical pesticide use.

“It is critical for the health of our communities and environment that we continue to monitor our watersheds for pesticides through programs like the USGS Pesticide National Synthesis Project.

We encourage you to continue these critical data collection efforts to inform pesticide use and environmental and health impacts, and urge you to communicate the expected timeline for releasing previous years of annual data with the broader users of this database external to USGS,” the lawmakers wrote. 

The letter was co-signed by Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Earl Blumenauer (OR-01), Mike Levin (CA-49), Jim McGovern (MA-02), and Melanie Stansbury (NM-01).  

Read the full letter HERE.