New federal bill would protect bees from pesticides

For Immediate Release: July 12, 2013
Contact:  Paul Towers, 916-216-1082, ptowers@panna.org

New federal bill would protect bees from pesticides

Agency delays spur action in Congress

Earlier today, Congressman Blumenauer (OR) announced a long-awaited bill that would place a moratorium on bee-harming pesticides. The bill addresses widespread public and beekeeper concerns about declining bee populations in the United States, including large bee kills in Oregon. The declines are increasingly linked to neonicotinoid pesticides by independent scientists. The Blumenauer-Conyers bill is consistent with continent-wide restrictions that European leaders voted to enact earlier this year.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Agriculture have largely failed to address concerns about neonicotinoid pesticides, and have collectively indicated that agencies are at least five years away from any steps to protect bees.

Last year, four members of Congress, including Representative Markey (MA), and Senators Gillibrand (NY), Leahy (VT) and Whitehouse (RI) penned letters to EPA urging the agency to expedite its review of bee-harming pesticides.

In response to the introduction of The Save America's Pollinators Act, Paul Towers, a spokesperson for Pesticide Action Network, released the following statement:

“Congress is now moving to take action to protect bees, where EPA has failed. Following the worst year for bee losses in U.S. history, agency officials have focused attention on a series of endless meetings rather than coordinated action. The Save American Pollinators Act would address these regulatory failures and take bee-harming pesticides off the market.

Multiple factors are at play in bee declines, including nutrition, pathogens and pesticides—with science increasingly pointing to pesticides as a key catalyst. Neonicotinoid pesticides stand out as some of the most harmful actors in the chemical cocktails applied in farm fields.

Bees are the underpinning of our food and farming system, with one in three bites of food relying on bees for pollination. We must ensure that bees are safe, and beekeeper livelihoods are protected, lest we put our food system and agricultural economy at risk.

The good news is that there is a growing global momentum to protect bees, and today’s bill follows similar action taken by governments in other parts of the world. Following independent research, Europe placed a moratorium on the use and sale of neonicotinoids earlier this year. The U.S. has the responsibility to step up and protect bees, and become one of the world’s honey bee havens.”