Groups sue EPA over honey bee deaths
The EPA said in a statement that it is trying to get a better understanding of the risks to honey bees and is working aggressively to protect bees from pesticide risks through a number of programs. It also is accelerating review of the neonicotinoid pesticides because of the bee concerns, it said.
The plaintiffs also include beekeeper Ellis of Old Mill Honey Co; Jim Doan of Doan Family Farms; Tom Theobald of Niwot Honey Farm; and Bill Rhodes of Bill Rhodes Honey. The plaintiffs also include the groups Beyond Pesticides, the Center for Food Safety, the Pesticide Action Network North America, the Sierra Club and the Center for Environmental Health.
Syngenta and Bayer, are leading global producers of neonicotinoids, and say the harmful effects on bees are unproven. But in Europe, the European Commission recently proposed a ban of neonicotinoids on many crops after the EU's European Food Safety Authority said neonicotinoids posed an acute risk to honey bee health.
In the United States, such neonicotinoids are routinely used on more than 100 million acres of corn, wheat, soy and cotton and are in some home gardening products.
The plaintiff coalition said many beekeepers are reporting losses of over 50 percent this year and said the shortages have left many California almond growers without enough bees to effectively pollinate their trees.
Along with bees, birds, bats, butterflies, beetles, and other small mammals are involved in pollinating plants used for food and some species have seen a 90 percent decline in their populations over the last decade, according to the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign, a collaboration of more than 120 organizations in the United States, Canada and Mexico who promote the role that pollinators play in food systems.