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SCOTUS begins issuing new opinions, with another expected related to the power of federal agencies, the battleground state of Wisconsin gets a ruling on alternative voting sites, and coastal work is being done to help salt marshes withstand hurricanes.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Illinois Environmental Group Seeks Ban on Pesticides Harmful to Bees

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Friday, August 25, 2023   

An Illinois group reported toxic pesticides are causing irreversible damage to young, developing bees, putting the bee population in decline and food crops at risk.

Bees are pollinators, and scientists said without them, it would be impossible to grow many of the plants decorating gardens and putting food on American tables. Environment Illinois said while previous studies identified a number of pesticides harmful to adult honeybees, different research by Imperial College in London shows the same poisons can impair brain development in 'baby bees,' or bee larvae.

Emily Kowalski, outreach and engagement manager for Environment Illinois, said the government needs to ban the bug killers.

"We're calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the worst uses of these bee-killing pesticides," Kowalski explained. "And we're calling on major retailers, including Amazon, to stop selling these bee-killing pesticides."

Kowalski pointed out many farmers and gardeners use "neonics," pesticides capable of stunting brain development in bee larvae, damaging their neural cells and keeping them from pollination and other activities common to bees. Researchers found the number of bees found in Europe and the United States is down 30% since 2000.

Kowalski noted environmental groups are urging more states to take action, and nine states have already restricted some of the worst uses of neonics, but officials have yet to do the same in Illinois.

She stressed bee populations in eight other states have all but disappeared.

"Our main mission is a vision of a greener Illinois," Kowalski emphasized. "That protects places where nature can thrive, and offers us and our children a greater opportunity to live healthier, more enriching lives."

In addition to pesticides, bees are also disappearing due to the effects of climate change and the loss of habitat. She added they are asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and some state agencies to add protections for native species of bees under the Endangered Species Act.


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