Last month, I opined about the unconstitutionality of the Monsanto Protection Act as a means for lobbyists to bypass the checks and balances of Article III Courts. The powerful lobby process of Dow Chemical is in the spotlight this week as the EPA’s decision on May 13, 2013 to approve a new neonicotinoid pesticide ingredient, sulfoxator, for use on crops, most of which depend on pollinators, without label warning protection, is challenged. The approval comes as the EPA is in the midst of a study on the safety of neonicotinoids, which is not scheduled for completion for another four years.
The appeal, filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal on July 10, 2013 by the National Pollinators Defense Fund, the American Honeybees Association, the National Honey Bee Advisory Board, the American Beekeeping Federation, and three professional beekpeers, seeks changes in the labeling of the poison, whose class has been proven to be fatal to honeybees and other pollinators and is the subject of a wide scale temporary ban in Europe that went into effect earlier this year.
Honey bees are responsible for pollinating 60 % of the world’s food supply. colony collapse disorder, which has been coined the “Bee Apocalypse: and the “AIDS” epidemic of the honeybee, the extinction of which would destroy most of the world’s food supply and cause a devastating economic meltdown. Neonicotinoid pesticides, such as Dow’s sulfoxator, like its sister toxics; acetamiprid, clothianidin and imidacloprid, are some of the most the most widely-used pesticides in the world, and have been responsible for rising bee deaths since 2005.
Since 1972, feral honey bees in the United States alone have declined 80% and domestic bees in the U.s. are down to 60%. Since 2006, the epidemic has been referred to as CCH or
The EPA approved the use of neonicotinoid clothiandin, co-developed by Bayer, in 2003 against the warnings of its own scientists. Despite EPA’s findings that clothianidin poses a major risk to non-target insects, such as honey bees, and information from standard tests and field studies, as well as incident reports involving other neonicotinoid insecticides suggesting the potential for long term toxic risk to honey bees and other beneficial insects, Bayer’s powerful lobby was able to get the toxic approved.
Studies have found residue of neonicotinoid pesticides in pollen and nectar, which has resulted in the elimination of entire colonies, as well as changes in the bees on a genetic level. The toxics remain in the biosphere for approximately 12 years, thus infecting new organic replacement plants. It is the equivalent of radiation poisoning for the pollinators, who continue to decline in massive numbers.
Fortunately, some action is being taken, but it needs tremendous grass roots support to overcome the powerful chemical lobby in Washington. Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer is proposing a bill to suspend the use of neonicotinoids, responsible for killing over 50,000 bumblebees last month in his state, which has reacted by a temporary ban on their use. The decimation of 37 million bees in Canada this Spring is being attributed to neonicotinoid pesticides as well as genetically engineered corn, the use of which has been banned in Poland, where it has been conclusively been proven deadly to bee colonies.
Four professional beekeepers and five environmental and consumer groups filed a lawsuit against the EPA on March 21, 2013 in the Northern District Court of California, demanding that the regulatory agency suspend the use of pesticides clothianidin and thiamethoxam. The case, Ellis v. Bradbury, et. al., Case No. 3:13-cv-01266-MMC, in its early stages, is scheduled for a case management conference on July 26, 2013.
Last month, I co-founded the non-profit organization “Bee Bay” (http://beebay.org ) to bring awareness to the decline in our pollinators, and its potential devastating effect on our food supply and economy. The group’s first action is to generate a petition to the US Congress and the EPA to enact a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides at: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/717/194/918/ban-bee-killing-pesticides/
The Environmental Protection Agency says its mission is to “protect human health and the environment”. The time has come for the EPA to take a good hard look at what that mission really means, and to realize that it works for us, and not the chemical companies.