The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday published two bee-related announcements, but with both, say environmental groups, the agency has failed the pollinators.
One was its “Policy to Mitigate the Acute Risk to Bees from Pesticide Products.” It states that the “policy is not a regulation or an order and, therefore, does not legally compel changes to pesticide product registrations.”
The other release was a set of draft risk assessments for three neonicotinoids, or “neonics.” They are the most widely used class of insecticides, and they have been linked to bee harm. The new assessments were for clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran, and an updated assessment on another, imidacloprid, was also included.
Those assessments, according to Paul Towers, policy advocate and spokesperson for Pesticide Action Network, “are full of gaps and continue to ignore many of the most significant threats from neonicotinoids, particularly when they’re used as seed coatings on common crops,” their most frequent use.
Yet “[e]ven in their limited scope, these risk assessments clearly show harm to bees and other pollinators from uses of neonics,” said Larissa Walker, program director for the Center for Food Safety’s pollinator program.
Added Lori Ann Burd, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s environmental health program: “It’s outrageous that on the same day the EPA acknowledged these dangerous pesticides are killing bees it also reversed course on mandating restrictions on their use,” referring to the agency’s backing away from a 2015 proposal.
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