Time for Emergency Action on Pesticide in Order to Protect Bees

Beekeepers and environmental groups still on hold for the Environmental Protection Agency's response to the more than 250,000 legal petitions citing “imminent” harm to bees.

| June 28, 2012

The following article is posted with permission from the Pesticide Action Network.

A coalition of environmental groups and beekeepers submitted more than 250,000 petitions to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today, urging immediate suspension of a pesticide linked to colony collapse disorder (CCD) in bees. The call comes three months after the legal petition was filed, and as beekeepers report significant bee kills across the United States, linked to neonicotinoid pesticides.

“The clock is ticking and the weight of evidence is against pesticides,” said Heather Pilatic, PhD, author of Pesticides and Honey Bees: State of the Science and Communications Director at Pesticide Action Network. “EPA should follow the law, the science, and take immediate steps to protect bees and beekeepers from the growing threat of neonicotinoids.”

This spring and summer, beekeepers from New York to Ohio and Minnesota are reporting extraordinarily large bee die-offs, due, in part, to neonicotinoid pesticide exposure. The die-offs are similar to what beekeepers have reported in the past few weeks in Canada, where officials found significant amounts of neonicotinoids in dead bees.

“EPA has to make good on its statutory responsibility to protect livelihoods and the environment from imminent harm,” said Peter Jenkins, attorney at the Center for Food Safety and author of the legal petition filed in late March. “Bee kills profoundly affect our economy and our food system, and deserve swift action by the agency. EPA officials must respond to our legal petition immediately.”

In late March, a coalition of beekeepers and environmental organizations filed a legal petition with EPA urging the agency to take action on the neonicotinoid clothianidin, citing the agency’s ability to act quickly when a pesticide poses “imminent harm” under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports on average that beekeepers have lost more than 30 percent of their honey bee colonies each year since 2006 — some many more times that number.

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