Groups sue EPA over honeybees

On Thursday March 21, 2013 four professional beekeepers and five environmental and consumer groups filed a lawsuit against the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Northern District Court of California.
Lawsuit is about farmers, not flowers

The suit is based on the contention that certain chemicals are killing off the critical honey bee population, undermining – ironically – some farmers and certain aspects of the agriculture industry. For example, almond farmers have been crippled by the decline in honeybee population.

The lawsuit demands that EPA suspend the use of pesticides clothianidin and thiamethoxam.

Clothianidin and thiamethoxam first came into heavy use in the mid-2000s  – just as beekeepers started to see widespread colony losses, Reuters reports.

EPA says it is accelerating review of the neonicotinoid pesticides* because of the bee concerns. Europe has already banned this group.

Read the law suit story on Reuters:

*The neonicotinoids are a class of insecticides with a common mode of action that affects the central nervous system of insects, causing paralysis and death. All of the neonicotinoids were registered after 1984 and were not subject to reregistration. Some uncertainties have been identified since their initial registration regarding the potential environmental fate and effects of neonicotinoid pesticides, particularly as they relate to pollinators. Data suggest that neonicotinic residues can accumulate in pollen and nectar of treated plants and may represent a potential exposure to pollinators. Adverse effects data as well as beekill incidents have also been reported, highlighting the potential direct and/or indirect effects of neonicotinic pesticides. Therefore, among other refinements to ecological risk assessment during registration review, the Agency will consider potential effects of the neonicotinoids to honeybees and other pollinating insects.

The registration review docket for imidacloprid opened in December 2008, and the docket for nithiazine opened in March 2009. To better ensure a “level playing field” for the neonicotinoid class as a whole, and to best take advantage of new research as it becomes available, the Agency has moved the docket openings for the remaining neonicotinoids on the registration review schedule (acetamiprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam) to FY 2012. See more on that here:

Kathleen Hurley