Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...
The Obama administration is pushing through efforts to reduce pesticide risks to bees one week before President-elect Donald Trump takes office.
The Environmental Protection Agency finalized its policy on protecting honeybees from pesticide-spraying Jan. 12, placing restrictions on how farmers can use the pest-killers to avoid contact with bees used for pollination services. In these situations, farmers contract with beekeepers to rent hives in order to ensure bountiful crops of fruits, vegetables, legumes and other crops.
The final guidance is “more flexible and practical” than the proposal issued May 29, 2015, according to the announcement from the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs.
It allows products that retain their toxicity to bees to be applied for short periods in certain cases. It also would approve spraying when pollinators are unlikely to be foraging. The policy recommends new language for pesticide labels but is not legally binding.
Pesticides, particularly the class of neonicotinoids, have been linked to bee die-offs and an overall decline in bee health over the last decade. Scientists have debated the extent to which neonicotinoids are responsible for the problem.
Friends of the Earth, a group that has advocated for restricting neonicotinoids, said the guidance falls short of protecting bees.
“EPA should have strengthened, not weakened, this policy,” Tiffany Finck-Haynes, a campaigner with the group, said in a statement. “If EPA is serious about protecting bees, the livelihood of beekeepers and our environment, the agency should take bee-toxic pesticides off the market.”
The proposed policy was criticized by environmental groups for only protecting honeybees under pollination contracts, arguing that farmers are not likely to accidentally kill off bees that provide a paid service.
Pesticide industry trade group CropLife America said it will advocate for increasing communication between farmers and beekeepers via state-run managed pollinator protection plans, which are voluntary efforts to avoid accidental spraying around bees.
“CropLife America and our members continue to engage in research, coalitions and partnerships to promote pollinator health. We agree that pollinators are an integral part of the agriculture ecosystem,” the organization said in a statement.
The move follows a decision on Jan. 11 from the Fish and Wildlife Service to list the rusty-patched bumblebee, a native bee species, under the Endangered Species Act.
The EPA also released pollinator risk assessments for three neonicotinoid pesticides: clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran, and made updates to its first pollinator assessment for imidacloprid.
According to the assessments, most approved uses do not pose significant risks to bee colonies. The EPA added information on potential risks to aquatic species for imidacloprid.
The EPA is proposing a new method for accounting for pesticide exposure to bees that may occur through pollen and nectar in two of the assessments: clothianidin and thiamethoxam.
To contact the reporter on this story: Tiffany Stecker in Washington, D.C., at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at email@example.com
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)