Lawsuit Claims Fire Retardant Killed Fish

By Jonathan Lloyd
|  Wednesday, Dec 16, 2009  |  Updated 12:45 PM PDT
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Viewer Photos: Santa Barbara Wildfire

AFP/Getty Images

A firefighter talks to his team as they protect homes at the Jesusita fire in Santa Barbara, California.

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A fire retardant used to save lives and homes during a wildfire is at the center of an environmental group's complaint against several government agencies.

The group claims the retardant killed about 50 steelhead trout during the fight against the Santa Barbara-area Jesusita Fire in May. The species is protected.

A lawsuit notice was filed Wednesday by the Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics. It names the U.S. Department of Commerce, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The group's letter said the agencies violated the Endangered Species Act. It wants them to regulate the use of the toxic fire retardant within the steelhead's protected habitat.
 

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