Friday, July 20, 2012

EPA Denies Petition From Beekeepers To Suspend Clothianidin

Jul 19: The organization Beyond Pesticides reports that U.S. EPA announced it had formally refused to recognize that honey bees face an "imminent hazard" and denied a request by beekeepers to immediately suspend the use of pesticides that pose harm to pollinators. The decision comes in response to a legal petition filed earlier this year by twenty-five beekeepers and environmental organizations, citing significant acute and chronic bee kills across the United States linked to neonicotinoid pesticides, particularly clothianidin. Steve Ellis, a petitioner and owner of Old Mill Honey Co, with operations in California and Minnesota said, "We're disappointed. EPA has signaled a willingness to favor pesticide corporations over bees and beekeepers. This decision puts beekeepers, rural economies and our food system at risk. And the injury we are sustaining this year will be unnecessarily repeated."

    Beyond Pesticides indicates that this spring and summer, beekeepers from New York to Ohio and Minnesota, are reporting extraordinarily large bee die-offs, due, in part, to exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides. The die-offs are similar to what beekeepers have reported in the past few weeks in Canada (where EPA has admitted there are 120 bee kill reports, a huge number). On average, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that beekeepers have been losing over 30% of their honey bee colonies each year since 2006 -- but some are losing many more times that number.

    Peter Jenkins, attorney at Center for Food Safety and author of the legal petition filed in late March said, "EPA has failed in its statutory responsibility to protect beekeeper livelihoods and the environment from an 'imminent hazard. The agency explicitly refused to consider the massive amount of supplemental information we submitted that came to light after we filed the petition, as bees started dying in large numbers this Spring during the April and May corn planting season."
    The emergency legal petition to EPA was filed on March 21, 2012 and asked the agency to suspend all registrations for pesticides containing clothianidin. The petition, which is supported by over one million citizen petition signatures worldwide, targets the pesticide for its harmful impacts on honey bees. EPA's partial response is available and the agency has published an electronic docket with the petition, the partial response, and other supporting material available for viewing. Beyond Pesticides indicates that the public can not yet comment on the petition, but the docket will be opened soon for accepting public comments. EPA indicates on its website that it will publish a Federal Register notice the week of July 23-27, 2012, opening a 60-day public comment period that commences with the FR notice publication.
    Access a lengthy release from Beyond Pesticides with multiple links to related information (click here). Access the EPA docket with available information (click here). Access more information from Beyond Pesticides' Pollinator Program website
(click here). Access EPA's website for Clothianidin – Registration Status and Related Information with extensive information (click here). [#Toxics]
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