Bee pollinating a pink flower. kenzaza/ThinkstockPhotos

Democratic lawmakers reintroduce bill to protect pollinators

The legislation suspends the use of neonicotinoids.

 Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, and Jim McGovern, D-Mass., have reintroduced the Saving America’s Pollinators Act.

The bill is designed to protect the health of honey bees and other critical pollinators. The United States lost an estimated one-third of its honeybee colonies between 2016 and 2017, with similar losses in prior years. To end this dramatic trend, the legislation suspends the use of bee-toxic insecticides known as neonicotinoids, which have been linked to declining pollinator populations. It also requires the Environmental Protection Agency to complete a thorough assessment and ensure that any uses of these insecticides do not cause unreasonable and adverse effects on pollinators.

“The health of our food system depends on the health of our pollinators,” Blumenauer said. “The status quo is like flying blind – we shouldn’t be using these pesticides when we don’t know their full impact. The EPA has a responsibility to get to the bottom of this issue and protect pollinators.”

“Pollinators are the backbone of America’s agriculture system. Acting now to protect them and stop their decline is essential to the sustainability of our nation’s food supply,” McGovern said. “Simply taking the word of the manufacturers that their products are safe is not an option. Consumers need strong oversight.”

Over the past decade, documented incidents of honey bee colony collapse disorder and other forms of excess bee mortality have reached a record high. In some cases, beekeepers have repeatedly lost 100% of their operations. Thousands of scientific studies have implicated neonicotinoids as key contributors to declining pollinator populations.

U.S. agriculture heavily relies on honey bees and native bees, which jointly provide an estimated $18 to $27 billion in pollination service annually. One of every three bites of food we eat is from a crop pollinated by bees. The Saving America’s Pollinator Act protects the health of our pollinators and food system until the EPA determines the risks associated with neonicotinoids.

Source: Office of Rep. Earl Blumenauer

Related articles:

16 environmental and conservation groups have collected more than 100,000 public comments urging the agency to rein in the rampant overuse of neonicotinoid pesticides—a leading cause of pollinator population declines. – EcoWatch

The most widely used class of pesticides in the country may be banned for home use in Vermont, if a bill aimed at protecting the state’s pollinators becomes law. – Sentinel Source

A recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey detected neonicotinoid pesticides in 10 Great Lakes tributaries throughout the year, although the levels were highest during the growing season. – Bloomberg BNA


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