Pesticide-free zones are part of salmon agreement

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The final agreement has been filed in a decade-long battle to get the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set buffer zones to keep some harmful agricultural pesticides out of salmon streams in Oregon, California and Washington.

The agreement filed Wednesday in federal court in Seattle calls for the EPA to set pesticide-free areas that will stand until it imposes permanent ones in the next few years. The terms of the settlement had been published in June, and the final deal goes into effect once a judge signs it.

The case stems from a 2004 injunction imposing the anti-spraying zones, which expired on the assumption the EPA would create its own restrictions after federal biologists determined five broad-spectrum pesticides jeopardized the survival of endangered salmon. It’s unclear why the federal agency didn’t move on the rules despite the threat to the fish.

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