Bee die-offs are an emergency. EPA, act now.
In March, PAN joined partners and beekeepers from around the country in filing a legal petition with EPA, calling on the agency to make use of its emergency powers to protect bees from Bayer's pesticide clothianidin. Sources tell us that in the next two weeks, EPA will decide whether or not bees dying off at unprecedented rates constitutes an “imminent hazard.”
Since the wholesale decline of bees and other pollinators is most certainly an imminent hazard requiring emergency intervention, we want to be sure that EPA knows what's at stake and knows we are watching.
Tell EPA to take immediate action to protect bees from a pesticide that clearly poses an imminent threat.
Environmental Protection Agency
Dear Administrator Jackson,
I am writing to urge your agency to take advantage of this opportunity to protect pollinators from pesticides. Honey bees and other insect pollinators are dying off at unprecedented, catastrophic rates and pesticides are a clear causal factor. This cannot be allowed to continue, and you can do something about it.
Your agency is considering an Emergency Citizen Petition right now that seeks suspension of the insecticide clothianidin, the petition filed with you on March 20 by 25 beekeepers and four consumer and environmental groups (EPA-HQ-OPP-2012-0334). Applied to over a hundred million acres across the country, clothianidin has recently been confirmed as a highly toxic pesticide to which honey bees are exposed at potentially lethal rates throughout the corn planting season. Because clothianidin is persistent and systemic, bees and other pollinators also face ongoing sub-lethal exposures throughout the course of the year in a variety of other settings.
If the wholesale decline of insect pollinators at historically unprecedented rates does not constitute an emergency requiring exercise of the agency’s powers under the “imminent hazard” clause of federal pesticide law, one wonders what the words “emergency” and “imminent hazard” actually mean.
Immediately at stake are the livelihoods of beekeepers upon whose daily work we rely to pollinate America’s apples, blueberries, almonds, pumpkins and dozens of other vital crops. Equally important, and more profound, is the fact that pollinators are keystone, indicator species – as they go, so goes the environment, and with it, us.
Ms. Jackson, you can make the difference. Please recognize this is an emergency and suspend clothianidin’s registration until your agency ensures compliance with the condition it imposed eight years ago. EPA said then that the registrant for clothianidin, Bayer Crop Science, had to provide an acceptable field study showing it would have not have unreasonable adverse effects on pollinators, yet Bayer has never produced a single scientifically valid field study supporting clothianidin’s safety. To date, your agency has let down the nation in allowing an unsafe and untested chemical to be released to market. But EPA has before it a very clear opportunity to take decisive action.
Bees dying off en masse is an emergency and an imminent hazard. Period. Americans are counting on you to make this right.