Industry Challenge to EPA: Reevaluate Toxic Bee-Killing Pesticide
business struggling to stay afloat amid costly threat from pesticide
San Francisco, C.A. — National beekeeping
organizations along with the National Honey Bee Advisory Board and the
Pollinator Stewardship Council have filed
an opening brief in an appeal challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency for its approval of the pesticide Sulfoxaflor, shown to be “highly
toxic” to honey bees, and other insect pollinators. Sulfoxaflor is the first of
a newly assigned sub-class of pesticides in the “neonicotinoid” class of
pesticides and is considered by the EPA to be “highly toxic.” Many scientists
across the globe have linked this class of pesticides as a potential factor to
widespread and massive bee colony losses. The case was filed as the beekeeping industry
across the country struggles for survival and faces the costly effects of
pesticides upon their businesses.
The Pollinator Stewardship Council (formerly, the National
Pollinator Defense Fund), National Honey Bee Advisory Board, American Honey
Producers Association, the American Beekeeping Federation, and beekeepers Bret
Adee, Jeff Anderson and Thomas R. Smith are being represented in this case by
the public interest law organization Earthjustice. The groups argue that the
EPA violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by
granting the pesticide full registration for most crops, dismissing the input
from their risk assessors that the field tests supplied by the manufacturer Dow
Chemical were insufficient to adequately determine pollinator safety. The
groups also contend that the EPA’s labeling is inadequate to mitigate the risk
Sulfoxaflor poses to bees. The agency also failed to accurately measure
Sulfoxaflor’s costs and benefits by ignoring the harm the pesticide causes to
the beekeeping industry and to the crops that require bees for pollination. The
EPA is required by the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act
(FIFRA) to determine that a pesticide does not pose an unreasonable risk to the
environment or to economic interests.
“This case is really quite simple: bees are getting wiped out, and
yet the EPA rubber stamped another bee-killing pesticide,” said Earthjustice
attorney Greg Loarie. “EPA failed the beekeeping industry and all of us who
rely on a sustainable food supply by refusing to consider threats to
pollinators from this new pesticide.”
“Native and managed pollinators are a national resource providing
an irreplaceable service in the production of high quality fruits and
vegetables for our families,” said Rick Smith, beekeeper and farmer. “Pesticide
application is a stewardship responsibility farmers take seriously. The EPA
neglected to provide mandatory label instructions which would protect
pollinators and allow farmers to proudly live up to that stewardship
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