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EPA reverses approval for poison traps used by ranchers

An Idaho family sued the federal government after a cyanide trap injured a teenager and killed his dog in 2017.
Credit: AP
FILE - This March 16, 2017, file photo released by the Bannock County Sheriff's Office shows a cyanide device in Pocatello, Idaho, The cyanide device, called M-44, is spring-activated and shoots poison that is meant to kill predators. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken an initial step to reauthorize a predator-killing poison that injured a boy in eastern Idaho and killed his dog. The federal agency on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, announced an interim decision involving sodium cyanide that's used in M-44s. (Bannock County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

The Environmental Protection Agency has withdrawn preliminary approval for deadly sodium cyanide traps blamed for injuries to people and pets as well as targeted predators.

EPA head Andrew Wheeler said in a statement Thursday that he was rescinding his approval so more analysis and discussion of the M-44 traps could be done.

Farmers, ranchers and government wildlife trappers use the spring-loaded poison traps to kill coyotes and other livestock predators. Critics call them cyanide bombs and say they kill thousands of bears, waterfowl and other unintended victims annually.

An Idaho family sued the federal government after a trap injured a teenager and killed his Labrador retriever in 2017.

Thursday's reversal comes a week after the EPA gave preliminary reauthorization for the traps. Environmental groups and others had objected to the traps.

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