Count bees among the losers in the farm bill, reports Greenwire and E&E writer Amanda Peterka.
A provision that would have compelled government agencies to address declining pollinator/bee populations is not in the final bill that President Obama signed into law.
The proposal from Democratic Reps. Alcee Hastings of Florida and Marcy Kaptur of Ohio would have required better coordination among federal agencies in addressing the decline of both managed and wild pollinator populations, Peteerka reported. It also would have required the government to regularly report on the health of bees, birds, bats and other insects.
Because pollinator populations have fallen dramatically, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department, “bee advocates” had been urging Congress to include some regulatory oversignt in the farm bill.
"I'm terribly disappointed that the limited language that I requested was stripped from the bill. And I don't like that," Rep. Hastings was reported as saying. "I don't think I was asking for anything of major consequence, and I was trying to dramatize, and will continue to do so, that this nation—indeed, this world—has a pollinator problem."
Greenwire and E&E reported almost 60 organizations supported the addition to the farm bill which was approved in the House, but the Senate didn’t accept putting the proposal into its final farm bill version. Most of the supporting organizations were environmental advocacy groups.
One big complaint centers around the final farm bill not directing USDA to encourage farmers to protect pollinator habitat as part of voluntary conservation plans.