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US Beekeepers File Lawsuit Against EPA Over Approval Of Dangerous Pesticide

Published: September 21, 2019
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By John Vibes / Truth Theory


Beekeepers in the United States have begun to organize against a recent decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to allow a dangerous insecticide back on the market. The beekeepers have filed a lawsuit against the government agency for its inaction on the powerful insecticide, “sulfoxaflor.” The lawsuit cites information and statistics about the health risks to humans, animals, and insects.

The beekeepers are being represented by Earthjustice, a legal group that works on cases involving the environment. Greg Loarie, one of the attorneys with Earthjustice, says that a restriction on sulfoxaflor was removed by the Trump administration, despite scientific evidence proving how dangerous it is.

“Honeybees and other pollinators are dying in droves because of insecticides like sulfoxaflor, yet the Trump administration removes restriction just to please the chemical industry. This is illegal and an affront to our food system, economy, and environment,” Loarie said.

However, the companies behind many of the controversial pesticides on the market have also sponsored their own studies, which showed that the substances were safe. Many beekeepers question the validity of these studies, and have urged the government to look for independent studies on these matters, instead of relying entirely on corporate-funded research to make their decisions.


Michele Colopy of the Pollinator Stewardship Council, one of the many plaintiffs in the lawsuit, says that the EPA used these potentially unreliable studies to justify bringing sulfoxaflor back on the market.

“It is inappropriate for EPA to solely rely on industry studies to justify bringing sulfoxaflor back into our farm fields. Die-offs of tens of thousands of bee colonies continue to occur and sulfoxaflor plays a huge role in this problem. EPA is harming not just the beekeepers, their livelihood, and bees, but the nation’s food system,” she said.

An initial approval of the chemical was overturned by the EPA in 2013, as the result of a previous lawsuit filed by Pollinator Stewardship Council, the American Beekeeper Federation, and Earthjustice.

However, the agrochemical chemical Corteva, who makes the pesticide, has continued to lobby for its approval. Just three years later, in 2016, the chemical was re-approved with certain restrictions, then in July of this year, the Trump administration entirely removed the restrictions on sulfoxaflor.

Earlier this year, Truth Theory reported that actor Morgan Freeman turned his 124-acre ranch in Mississippi into a sanctuary for bees. Freeman said that the bees seem to appreciate his help. He has never been stung while working with the bees, and he doesn’t even wear any protective gear. If you ever felt like you would be interested in beekeeping, it is now easier than ever with simple new designs that allow people to enter the vocation with very little experience or exposure to the bees.


Related Articles:

In addition to devastating effects on bee populations and the pollination needed to feed humans and other species, widely-used pesticides chemically related to nicotine may be deadly to birds and linked to some species' declines, according to a new study.

Pesticides sprayed in the southern U.S. to stop the spread of the Zika virus could turn the nation's honeybeesinto collateral damage. That is the warning issued by a study from the University of Exeter and the University of California, Berkeley published Friday in the Journal of Agricultural Research. The study found that 13 percent of U.S. honeybee keepers are at risk of losing their colonies from Zika spraying.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was wrong to approve the pesticide sulfoxaflor two years ago, a federal appeals court has ruled, forcing the chemical off the market. A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled (pdf) last week in favor of a lawsuit brought by Earthjustice and others, saying the EPA erred when it approved the pesticide in 2013.

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