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Beekeepers put the pressure on EPA

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As many of us geared up for Fourth of July festivities, the nation’s largest beekeeper organizations filed a legal action against EPA for its approval of a new bee-harming pesticide.

EPA is unable (or unwilling) to act decisively to protect bees, instead fast-tracking a new pesticide to market. Beekeepers aren’t taking the issues lightly, and have turned to asserting legal pressure on the agency.

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Kaua'i community presses for pesticide protections

Yesterday, a new bill was introduced in Kaua'i to provide greater transparency and protections from hazardous pesticides being sprayed on the island's ubiquitous GE test fields. Concerned community members were present en masse at the Kaua'i County Council hearing, including a broad coalition of mothers, farmers and teachers who back the bill.

Global pesticidemakers also took yesterday’s hearing seriously, busing employees to testify against the bill. These corporations rely on Hawaii's agricultural land to test their new genetically engineered crops — and the pesticide products designed to be used with GE crops. As a result, local residents are routinely exposed to an array of hazardous pesticides, and the corporations won't disclose which chemicals they're using. People on Kaua'i are saying, "Enough!"

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Buzz off, Monsanto

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Last week, the term “bee-washing” emerged in public conversation. It doesn’t refer to some new bee cleaning service, but to the insidious efforts of Monsanto and other pesticide corporations to discredit science about the impacts of pesticides on bees — especially neonicotinoids — by creating public relations tours, new research centers and new marketing strategies.

This week, pesticide makers are showcasing these tactics during National Pollinator Week with offers of free seed packets to people who take their poorly named “pollinator pledge.” The “bee-washing” term has gained traction as scientists and groups like PAN continue to cut through the misinformation and point to the emerging body of science that points to pesticides as a critical factor in bee declines.

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Speaking out for safe strawberry fields

The hearing room in Salinas was brimming with people concerned about fumigant pesticides on Monday night. Dozens of concerned residents, farmworkers and farmers showed up to press state officials to protect this Central Coast community from the volatile fumigant chloropicrin — and to make good on the promise of safer strawberry fields.

Salinas is in the heart of strawberry country, so the issue hits especially close to home. Californians are speaking out at such hearings across the state throughout the month of June, submitting written testimony and sharing stories of how they've been affected by fumigant pesticides.

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California is ready for safe strawberries

Last Thursday, I joined about 50 farmworker, health and sustainable farming advocates in Sacramento to cheer California on towards fumigant-free farming. We were there to urge legislators to support new technologies and practices that will make agriculture in the state more sustainable and resilient.

Fumigants are among the most hazardous pesticides on the market, and their continued use threatens the health of California communities. But transitioning away from these chemicals won’t happen if pesticidemakers, and their lobbyists and allies roaming the Capitol's halls, get their way.

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Rubber-stamping pesticides?

Last week, our colleagues at NRDC released a compelling new report that highlights just how broken the pesticide approval process really is.

The report spotlights the problem of so-called “conditional” registrations, a streamlined approval process that pesticide manufacturers use to rush their products to market — while EPA turns a blind eye.

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Bees need help now! Time to up the ante.

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With other options exhausted over the past two years, beekeepers and partner organizations are now suing EPA to protect pollinators. We've filed over a million signatures from concerned individuals, a legal petition and a notice of intent to sue. And all to little avail. Now we're upping the ante.

There's too much at stake for EPA to stay stuck. Bees are in trouble, and they're vital to our food system and our agricultural economy. They're responsible for pollinating one in three bites of food we eat, including 95 types of fruits and nuts in North America. And commercial beekeepers report that their industry is on the verge of collapse.

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Midwest asks for clarity with GE labels

Legislators in Minnesota introduced a bill last week to label genetically engineered (GE) food, joining similar efforts across the Midwest. States are taking matters into their own hands as the federal government has failed to provide people with information about what’s in their food and how it’s grown.

GE labeling bills in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois represent the groundswell of Midwesterners frustrated with the lack of information and oversight of genetically engineered seeds, crops and food. 

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Big 6 undermine Hawaii's 'right to know'

This month, the pesticide industry has been showing its muscle in Hawaii. The “Big 6”  seed and pesticide corporations — and their front groups — have undermined two public efforts to provide better information about pesticides and genetically engineered (GE) seeds and foods.

Industry successfully undermined two GE-related bills in the state legislature. One requires labeling of genetically engineered foods. The other requires pesticide applicators to keep track of and report use of hazardous pesticides, providing valuable data on how much GE crops are driving up the use of pesticides. But both are now much weaker than they started out.

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EU steps up for bees & U.S. backtracks

Last week, the European Commission announced its position against the use of bee-harming neonicotinoid insecticides, urging nations within the European Union (EU) to impose a two-year suspension on their use. Great news for bees across the pond.

But here in the U.S., policymakers aren't stepping up. EPA officials are continuing to ignore the emerging body of science that point to pesticides, and especially neonicotinoid insecticides, as a critical factor in bee declines. What's worse, the agency is poised to approve yet another bee-harming pesticide.

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