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Lawsuit Claims the EPA is Failing to Protect Bees from Pesticides

PHOTO:  A coalition of beekeepers and environmental and consumer groups filed suit Thursday, claiming the EPA allows products - which are highly toxic to honey bees - to get to market with little oversight. CREDIT: Derek Keats
PHOTO: A coalition of beekeepers and environmental and consumer groups filed suit Thursday, claiming the EPA allows products - which are highly toxic to honey bees - to get to market with little oversight. CREDIT: Derek Keats
March 29, 2013

LANSING, Mich. – A lawsuit has been filed against the Environmental Protection Agency, claiming the EPA is not doing enough to protect the nation's declining bee population.

The suit was brought by a coalition of beekeepers and environmental groups, including the Pesticide Action Network.

Spokesman Paul Towers says the EPA has failed by allowing bee-toxic pesticides in dozens of widely used agricultural products for years.

"EPA has acted as a rubber stamp for these neonicotinoid products,” he says. “They've rushed the products to market and even when they're on the market, they've failed to provide the right protections on these pesticide labels. So EPA has really shirked its responsibility and that's why we're taking them to court."

Research points to a combination of factors likely to blame for honeybees disappearing, including pesticides and bacterial infections. American beekeepers have been losing about a third of their bees annually, and this past year there was a record high, with many reporting losses of 40 to 50 percent.

With the filing of the suit, Towers says the Pesticide Action Network hopes to force the EPA to review these products independently, and through the normal and more rigorous process.

"And in the interim it should impose restrictions on the use of these pesticides that are toxic to bees,” Towers says. “Those are the clear and easy steps that the agency can take to ensure the success of bees, of pollination and to support our food system."

It is the EPA's policy to not comment on pending litigation.


Rob South, Public News Service - MI