EPA Sued by Beekeeper Groups Over Pesticide Decisions
News outlets report that a group of concerned beekeepers has sued the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) due to its decision in July to allow the expansion of pesticide use that is known to harm bees and other important pollinators.
Earthjustice is representing The Pollinator Stewardship Council, the American Beekeeper Federation and beekeeper Jeff Anderson. They are asking the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to review the decision made by the EPA to rollback several restrictions concerning the pesticide sulfoxaflor.
These restrictions were enacted due to concerns that sulfoxaflor may be contributing to a disastrous number of bee deaths.
Pollinators are under many threats these days, including colony collapse disorder, parasitical varroa mite infestations, climate changes that affect bee food supplies with early and late blooming flowers, and much, much more. The heavy use of controversial pesticides, insecticides and some fertilizers are big factors in the current bee crisis.
Bees pollinate one-third of all the crops we eat, from coffee to apples, from almonds to avocados. If bee populations dwindle to a point that seriously affects agricultural pollination, humanity is likely to be in a food crisis.
The EPA stated in a report earlier this summer that some forms of pesticide sulfoxaflor can be “very highly toxic” to bees. At the time the agency defended its decision by stating that studies show the chemical disappears from the environment faster than other alternatives.
Earthjustice has attacked the EPA for relying on studies funded by the very industry groups with an agenda to keep these pesticides on the market.
Earthjustice stated that the government removed restrictions on such insecticides to please the chemical industry. Their lawyer, Greg Loarie, stated, “This is illegal and an affront to our food system, economy, and the environment.”
The very existence of honeybees and other pollinators is in peril, and many species are being driven to extinction.
A spokesperson for the Pollinator Stewardship Council stated tens of thousands of bee colonies are dying off and it continues to occur, and that sulfoxaflor is a huge part of the problem. The EPA is harming bees, beekeepers, their livelihood, and the food system of the nation.
The government also recently reversed rules meant to protect bees from neonicotinoids, a chemical family that causes bee colonies to collapse. The government halted federal bee-related research. A few months ago, the Department of Agriculture suspended data collection for one season for its annual Honeybee Colonies report. This data is vital to those trying to find solutions to keep bee populations from being wiped out.
The Bee Informed Partnership’s most recent report showed that beehive loss was at its highest to date this past winter.