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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Wildlife/Endangered Sp.' Category


03
Apr

EPA Announces Moratorium on New Uses of Bee-Killing Pesticides, Coalition Urges Broader Suspension

(Beyond Pesticides, April 3, 2015) Earlier today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a moratorium on new bee- and bird- harming neonicotinoid pesticide products and uses. While supportive of the partial halt on new registrations, farm, beekeeper and environmental groups were have urged EPA to suspend the huge numbers of other bee-harming pesticides already on the market. EPA’s announcement may  foreshadow broader recommendations from the White House Pollinator Health Task Force, according to the alliance. “We need EPA to protect bees and other pollinators from the neonicotinoids and other bee-harming insecticides that are already covering the corn and soybean acres in our area, not just keep new products off the market,” said Joanna Voigt, program and communications coordinator at Kansas Rural Center. “Here at the Kansas Rural Center we work with farmers who rely on pollinators to cultivate crops like squash, blueberries, apples, cucumbers, peppers, sunflowers and more. These farmers deserve more from EPA.” Over 125 farmer, food safety, beekeeper, faith and environmental groups sent a letter to the president last month urging a moratorium on all neonicotinoids and their chemical cousins, other systemic pesticides. Additionally, more than four million Americans signed petitions urging the Obama administration to take […]

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31
Mar

Study Data Analysis Used by UK to Oppose EU Moratorium on Neonics Challenged

(Beyond Pesticides, March 31, 2015) A world renowned entomologist, who reevaluated data from a controversial study on neonicotinoid insecticides, has concluded that UK government scientists misinterpreted the findings when they  concluded that restrictive policy wasn’t necessary on the bee-killing pesticide. David Goulson, Ph.D., a bee researcher and professor at the University of Sussex in Falmer, said the UK was wrong in its position, based on the new analysis. Neonicotinoids have been found by a growing body of scientific literature to be linked to honey bee and pollinator decline. The European Commission voted to suspend the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in 2013 for two years. The ban came several months after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released a report  identifying “high acute risk” to honey bees from uses of certain neonicotinoid chemicals.  However, this action was opposed by the UK government. Despite this opposition, Britain was required  to comply with the ban under European Union (EU) rules. One of the main pieces of evidence informing this opposition is a study published in 2013 by Britain’s Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA), which found  “no clear consistent relationship” between exposure to neonicotinoids and the growth of bee colonies and the number […]

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27
Mar

Portland, Oregon to Vote on Neonic Ban on City Property

(Beyond Pesticides, March 27, 2015) Portland, Oregon is considering a ban on neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides linked to bee deaths, from use on city property. If the measure passes, Portland will join a long list of towns and communities, including Eugene (Oregon),  Skagway (Alaska),  and, in Washington State, Thurston County,  Seattle, and Spokane. Under the proposed ordinance, city officials would not be permitted to use or buy neonicotinoids or similar pesticides on city lands or in city buildings and would urge stores to label products, such as plants and seeds treated with neonicotinoids. The proposal also applies to city contractors. Additionally, the proposed ban on neonicotinoids and neonicotinoid-like insecticides would not apply immediately to two city rose gardens. Officials say the rose midge, a pest, is difficult to eradicate with the insecticide. Instead the city will look for an alternative method using a pilot project at Peninsula Park in North Portland to test alternative non-toxic insecticides. That proposal would be phased in with a deadline of December 2017 to eliminate all neonicotinoid-based products. The proposal cites seven separate bumble bee incidents in Oregon related to the application of neonicotinoids on trees since June 2013, documented by the state’s Department […]

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25
Mar

New Poll Shows Americans Concerned About Bee Declines, Links to Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, March 25, 2015) Several environmental and food safety groups released new polling data which shows the public believes bee decline issues are critical and linked to pesticide use. This comes as concerned citizens flooded the White House this week with more than 3,500 phone calls demanding action against bee-harming chemicals, ramping up pressure on the Obama administration to protect America’s imperiled pollinators. The poll released yesterday was conducted by the firm FM3 and is being distributed in anticipation of recommendations from the  White House Pollinator Health Task Force. Last year, the President charged this inter-agency task force ””led jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)”” with implementing a plan to improve the health of bees, butterflies, birds and other pollinating species. According to the poll, an overwhelming majority (86%) say that honey bees and other pollinators are important to our nation’s food supply. More than half of the survey respondents (56%) consider the declining populations of honey bees and other pollinators to be a serious problem ””following only concerns around health care costs (76%) and jobs and the economy (75%), and on par with the problem of gas prices (55%). […]

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23
Mar

Take Action! Join the national call-in to President Obama to save our bees

(Beyond Pesticides, March 23, 2015) The fight to save our bees and other pollinators is at a critical moment. The Obama Administration charged federal agencies with  improving pollinator health this last June, and now, after months of delay, the President’s plan is expected imminently. Your voice is needed because  the chemical  companies that manufacture bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides, Bayer and Syngenta, have been working aggressively to  stop the President from taking action to restrict their chemicals, despite the critical threat they pose to bee health. A  week ago, more than four million Americans called on President Obama to take swift action to protect bees from toxic pesticides, and Beyond Pesticides joined with allies to rally in front of the White House to reinforce  this important message. We urgently need to ramp up pressure on the Obama administration to do the right thing for bees and our food system. Call President Obama’s office TODAY to deliver this message. It’s easy, we’ll patch you straight through. Call details: Call number: 1-877-796-1948 Just dial the number, you’ll hear an automated message with instructions and then be patched through to the White House to deliver your urgent message. When you’re connected to the White House, […]

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19
Mar

Final Suit Routing Genetically Engineered Crops and Related Practices from Refuges

(Beyond Pesticides, March 19, 2015) A federal court ruled Monday against the use of neonicotinoid insecticides linked with destruction of bee colonies and other beneficial insects in national wildlife refuges in the Midwest region.  The ruling caps a legal campaign to end the planting of genetically engineered (GE) crops and other industrial agricultural practices on national wildlife refuges across the country. The federal lawsuit was filed by Center for Food Safety (CFS), Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), Sierra Club, and Beyond Pesticides. The suit focused on farming contracts for five refuges in four Midwestern states (IL, IA, MN and MO) and sought to force the Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), which operates refuges, to stop these practices until it completes rigorous analyses of their environmental impacts. Beset by this litigation, this past July FWS decided that it will phase out the use of GE crops to feed wildlife and ban neonicotinoid insecticides from all wildlife refuges nationwide by January 2016.  This new policy still allows for case-by-case exceptions. In the March 16, 2015 ruling, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered: “By no later than APRIL 15, 2015, Defendants shall file a Notice indicating the extent to which neonicotinoid pesticides […]

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06
Mar

Oregon Bans Four Bee-Killing Insecticides on Linden Trees

(Beyond Pesticides, March 6, 2015) Last Friday, Oregon enacted a new rule which bans the use of four types of bee-killing insecticides, including  imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam and dinotefuran, regardless of application method on linden trees and other Tilia species. The four insecticides that are now illegal to spray on Tilia trees are all in the neonicotinoid chemical class which are implicated in pollinator decline, and represents a step forward in protecting bees. However, Tilia trees are not the only route of exposure that bees and other pollinators have to neonics, which are currently applied to fields across the U.S. as seed treatment. The rule comes at the request of the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) following several bee-kill incidents in Oregon since June 2013, when more than 50,000 bumblebees were killed after dinotefuran was sprayed on trees in a shopping mall parking lot in Wilsonville, Oregon. After the incident in Wilsonville, ODA initially placed restrictions on two of the chemicals, dinotefuran and imidacloprid on Tilia trees, and the state launched a task force to look at protections for pollinators. The group came out with a range of recommendations including increased outreach and education about bees and support for bee habitat […]

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04
Mar

Appeals Court to Hear Case on EPA’s Registration of Bee-Toxic Chemical

(Beyond Pesticides, March 4, 2015) The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to hear the case brought by beekeepers challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of a toxic pesticide known to be toxic to bees. In 2013, the beekeepers filed suit against the agency, citing that the new chemical, sulfoxaflor, as further endangering bees and beekeeping and noting that their concerns were not properly addressed by EPA before registration was granted. Sulfoxaflor is a sub-class of the neonicotinoid pesticides that have been linked to global bee declines. The Court has agreed to hear the case on April 14, 2015. The case, Pollinator Stewardship Council v. EPA, which requests changes to EPA’s product label for sulfoxaflor, was first filed July 2013. The petitioners include the Pollinator Stewardship Council, the American Honey Producers Association, the National Honey Bee Advisory Board, the American Beekeeping Federation, and beekeepers Bret Adee, Jeff Anderson and Thomas Smith. The beekeeper groups are represented by Earthjustice. The case is one of a number of pending legal cases on EPA’s pesticide decisions under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), including one submitted March 2013 by Beyond Pesticides, the Center for Food Safety, beekeepers, […]

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04
Mar

Over 4 Million People Press Obama to Protect Bees

Congress heeds call to action and introduces legislation as pressure mounts on White House Task Force to issue meaningful recommendations March 4, 2015 (Washington, DC)””A coalition of beekeepers, farmers, business leaders, environmental and food safety advocates rallied in front of the White House and delivered more than 4 million petition signatures today calling on the Obama administration to put forth strong protections for bees and other pollinators. This action anticipates the Pollinator Health Task Force recommendations, expected later this month. The task force, announced by the White House this past June, is charged with improving pollinator health through new agency regulations and partnerships. The assembled groups demand that the recommendations include decisive action on rampant use of neonicotinoids, a class of systemic insecticides scientists say are a driving factor in bee declines. The rally coincided with both a D.C. metro ad campaign and Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and John Conyers’s (D-MI) reintroduction of the Saving America’s Pollinators Act, which would suspend the use of four of the most toxic neonicotinoids until the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducts a full review of their safety. Representative Blumenauer, said, “Pollinators are not only vital to a sustainable environment, but key to a stable […]

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03
Mar

Over 125 Groups Urge President Obama to Protect Bees and Other Pollinators from Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, March 3, 2015) Over 125 conservation, beekeeping, food safety, religious, ethnic and farming advocacy groups are urging President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take swift and meaningful action to protect honey bees and other pollinators from toxic pesticides. Groups, including Beyond Pesticides, raised their voice through a letter sent in advance of a pending report from the White House Pollinator Task Force, which was established last June by the President with the goal to “reverse pollinator losses and help respond populations to healthy levels.” Last October the White House announced it would miss its self-assigned deadline, delaying the urgent action that is needed to address this crisis. The letter urges President Obama and executive agencies to take action against a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, systemic poisons that are devastating bee populations. They are also threatening the nation’s food supply, since one-third of the food consumed in the United States is pollinated by bees. “Through bold and decisive action from the White House and EPA, we can begin to reverse bee declines and protect pollinator populations for future generations,” said Nichelle Harriott, Science and Regulatory  Director at Beyond Pesticides. Among other steps the  letter calls […]

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27
Feb

New Research Links Bee-Killing Insecticide to Monarch Butterfly Deaths

(Beyond Pesticides, February 27, 2015) New research from the University of Minnesota presents some of the first evidence linking the bee-killing insecticides known as neonicotinoids to monarch butterfly deaths. The study finds that milkweed plants, which monarch butterflies need to survive, may also retain neonicotinoids from nearby plants, making milkweed toxic to monarchs. Monarch population numbers have fallen by 90% in less than 20 years. This year’s population was the second lowest since careful surveys began two decades ago. The critical driver of monarch decline  is the loss of larval host plants in their main breeding habitat, the midwestern Corn Belt. Monarchs lay eggs exclusively on plants in the milkweed family, the only food their larvae will eat. University of Minnesota entomologist Vera Krischik, Ph.D. fed butterflies milkweed plants treated with the neonicotinoid insecticide known as imidacloprid in amounts that might typically be found on backyard plants. While adult monarchs and painted lady butterflies were not affected, which, according to Dr. Krischik, indicates the ability of the adults to detoxify, the larvae of both species of butterflies died. During the course of the study, larvae fed on the treated plants for seven days. “For the monarch, nobody was left that […]

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26
Feb

Emergency Use of Bee-Killing Pesticide Approved for Florida Citrus

(Beyond Pesticides, February 26, 2015) Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted Florida citrus growers an emergency exemption to use the bee-killing pesticide clothianidin to control Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP), a pest that causes “citrus greening,” a devastating citrus plant disease. Clothianidin, which is not currently registered for use on citrus, is part of a class of neurotoxic, systemic insecticides called neonicotinoids, which have been implicated in global honey bee declines and suspended in the European Union. “EPA needs to assist in stopping the deadly use of pesticides that harm bees, butterflies, and birds with sustainable practices, rather than imperil pollinators with its decisions,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, a health and environmental advocacy group. He continued, “We understand the immediate chemical needs of chemical-intensive agriculture for increasingly toxic and persistent chemicals, but urge EPA to help stop the treadmill, lest it allow irreversible harm to the environment, biodiversity, and human health.” Beyond Pesticides is urging EPA to require that growers adopt a management plan in order to apply clothianidin. “Ultimately, EPA should be requiring growers to adopt integrated organic systems to manage pests, as a part of an emergency permit,” said Mr. Feldman. Read Beyond Pesticides’ […]

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20
Feb

Changes to Canadian Aquaculture Rule Raises Pesticide Concerns

(Beyond Pesticides, February 20, 2015) A broad-based coalition is urging Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper to put a stop to proposed changes to federal aquaculture regulations, citing damage to the environment and existing businesses. The proposed amendments to the federal Fisheries Act would exempt the aquaculture industry from provisions that “prohibit the release of deleterious substances into water frequented by fish.” Coalition members are worried that the changes will result in pesticides routinely being dumped into the Bay of Fundy,  located between the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and remove Environment Canada’s role in aquaculture activities, said spokeswoman Maria Recchia, the executive director of the Fundy North Fishermen’s Association. Aquaculture, which refers to the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of aquatic organisms such as fish, shellfish, and plants, provides half of the world’s seafood. According to  Food and Water Watch, offshore aquaculture follows an industrial agriculture model which grows thousands of animals in a confined environment. For fish, however, this confined space is in the ocean, meaning all of the waste products from the operation flow directly into the ocean. This includes excess feed and chemicals that are used, such as antibiotics and pesticides, to treat or prevent […]

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17
Feb

2,4-D and Atrazine Effects on Endangered Species Focus of Another Lawsuit

(Beyond Pesticides, February 17, 2015) The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit in federal court in California February 12 against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for failing to ensure that three widely used pesticides ””atrazine, 2,4-D and alachlor”” do not jeopardize the survival of two Bay Area endangered species, the delta smelt and Alameda whipsnake. FWS has yet to act on a request from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine whether measures are needed to protect the delta smelt and Alameda whipsnake from exposure to these pesticides. “These pesticides are known to harm wildlife even in miniscule amounts, so it’s long past time that we start taking commonsense steps to protect endangered species, our water and ourselves,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director at the Center. “Putting off any analysis of the harms caused by pesticides for six years is simply unacceptable, and has set back the recovery of these two species substantially.” Scientific research has shown that atrazine can harm the development of amphibians at exposures of just a few parts per billion, is toxic to fish, reptiles, mammals and birds, and may elevate risks of birth defects in people. Up to 80 […]

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13
Feb

EPA Sued for Violating Endangered Species Act with Allowance of New 2,4-D/Roundup Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides, February 13, 2015) With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)  nod to the pesticide industry on expanded uses of the herbicides 2,4-D and glyphosate, environmental groups are charging that the agency violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Repeating a pattern of putting the environment in harm’s way through violations of  federal endangered species  law, a lawsuit filed Friday  documents   EPA’s  failure to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) regarding the impact of the herbicide on two endangered species —the whooping crane and the Indiana bat— with the recent approval of Dow AgroSciences’ herbicide, Enlist Duo, for use on genetically engineered (GE) crops in six midwestern states. Enlist Duo is an herbicide that incorporates a mix of  glyphosate  and a new formulation of  2,4-D, intended for use on GE Enlist Duo-tolerant corn and soybean crops. Approved for use on GE corn and soybeans that are engineered to withstand repeated applications of the herbicide, the creation of 2,4-D-tolerant crops and EPA’s approval of Enlist Duo is the result of an overuse of glyphosate, an ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. The misuse resulted in an infestation of glyphosate-resistant super weeds which can now be legally combatted with the […]

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10
Feb

Neonics Harm Bees’ Brain Cells, According to Researchers

(Beyond Pesticides, February 10, 2015) Scientists at the Universities of Dundee and St. Andrews in Scotland have found evidence confirming that the levels of neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides bees are likely to encounter in the wild impair the pollinator’s brain cells, resulting in colony declines. Bees and other wild pollinators provide services of over $125 billion globally, but are experiencing widespread and consistent losses that have the potential to increase global malnutrition and disease if not properly addressed. Although countries and regions across the globe have taken action to suspend or restrict the use of neonic pesticides in light of their threat to bees, policymakers in the U.S. continue to delay, impose inadequate changes, or even introduce new bee-toxic chemicals. The recent study, Chronic exposure to neonicotinoids increases neuronal vulnerability to mitochondrial dysfunction in the bumblebee (Bombus terrestris), published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, finds a mechanistic explanation for previous findings that observed poor navigation and foraging in colonies of bumblebees exposed to neonicotinoids. To do this, researchers exposed bumblebees to doses of the neonics imidacloprid and clothanidin generally expected to be seen in the field (10 nanomoles[nM]/2.1ppb), and measured the amount that accumulated […]

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09
Feb

Monsanto’s Roundup Eradicates Milkweed, Major Food Source for Monarch Butterflies

(February 9, 2015, Beyond Pesticides) A report, Monarchs in Peril: Herbicide-Resistant Crops and the Decline of Monarch Butterflies in North America, released by Center for Food Safety (CFS) last week, reveals the devastating  impact of Monsanto’s and the nation’s biggest selling herbicide, Roundup (glyphosate), on the survival  of monarch butterflies. The herbicide is  used to treat  millions of acres of herbicide-tolerant  genetically engineered (GE) crops, eliminating the monarchs’ sole source  of food, milkweed, and approaching  a collapse of their population, which has plummeted over the past 20  years. The report cites findings that  glyphosate use on Roundup Ready  (glyphosate-tolerant) crops has nearly eradicated milkweed around farmland in the monarchs’ vital midwest breeding ground. At the urging of scientists and public interest groups, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is currently considering listing the monarch as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). “This report is a wake-up call. This iconic species is on the verge of extinction because of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crop system,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director at Center for Food Safety. “To let the monarch butterfly die out in order to allow Monsanto to sell its signature herbicide for a few more years is […]

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28
Jan

Will Pollinator Declines Increase Global Malnutrition and Disease? Yes, Says New Study

(Beyond Pesticides, January 28, 2015) Global decline of pollinators and pollination services will have a devastating impact on the nutritional health of people in developing countries, especially women and children, if left unabated, according to a new study from scientists at the University of Vermont and Harvard University. This research is the first to examine how pollinators influence nutrient intake and the risk of nutrient deficiency. It also comes at a time when policy makers are slow to find long-term sustainable solutions to reversing pollinator declines, despite mounting scientific evidence urging immediate action. Pollination services are valued at over $125 billion globally and pollinators are responsible for one in three bites of food we eat. However, pollinators like honey bees, wild bees, butterflies and others are in decline around the globe, with many beekeepers, scientists, and environmental activists singling out pesticides as a major contributing factor. But despite suggestions that pollinators are critical not only for global food supply, but specifically human nutritional health, there has not been any research to support this claim until now. The study, “Do Pollinators Contribute to Nutritional Health,” published in PLoS ONE, combined data on crop pollination requirements, food nutrient densities, and actual human […]

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26
Jan

New Pesticide To Be Marketed Amid Misleading Claims That It Is ‘Safer for Bees’

(Beyond Pesticides, January 26, 2015) Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it completed the registration of a new pesticide, flupyradifurone, that would be marketed as an alternative to neonicotinoid pesticides, and “safer for bees.” A closer look at this chemical reveals that the agency is grossly misleading the public on the ecological safety of flupyradifurone since the chemical is systemic, persistent, and highly acutely toxic to adult honey bees. At a time when bees are declining, advocates say it is inappropriate for EPA to introduce yet another bee toxic chemical to the market. Flupyradifurone (“Sivanto”) is a new systemic, butenolide insecticide from Bayer CropScience that is to be used on crops such as citrus, cotton, potatoes and many others, and also as seed treatment. Note: EPA is still considering soybean seed treatment. The chemical is a neurotoxic insecticide that can inhibit nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) in the nervous system. Neonicotinoids, widely linked to devastating health impacts on bees,  affect the nervous system in the same way. However, EPA states that flupyradifurone differs from neonicotinoids because of the way it binds to the receptors and  is metabolized. However, most troubling is that, based on EPA’s registration documents, the […]

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23
Jan

California Plan Violates Protections from Pesticide Spraying, According to Lawsuit

(Beyond Pesticides, January 23, 2015) Pesticide-centered Program Approved Despite 30,000 Opposition Letters. Eleven groups, including Beyond Pesticides and the City of Berkeley, sued the California Department of Food and Agriculture yesterday over the agency’s approval of a statewide “pest management” plan that allows pesticide spraying on schools, organic farms and residential yards, including aerial spraying over homes in rural areas. California regulators approved the program despite tens of thousands of public comment letters calling for a less toxic approach that would protect the vitality and resilience of the state’s food system and the economic interests of organic farmers. “Environmental review laws are there to prevent abuses,” says Jay Feldman, Executive Director of Beyond Pesticides, “Agencies cannot make unilateral decisions to ignore mandatory health and environmental safety standards.” “The state offers no evidence to support its conclusion that this pesticide-centered program will have no effect on our health,” said Debbie Friedman, cofounder of MOMS Advocating Sustainability. “As a parent, I am particularly disturbed that health risks of pesticide residues for children aged two and under are dismissed based on the absurd reasoning that infants spend most of their time indoors.” The approved program allows the state to use, without any additional […]

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08
Jan

Thurston County, Washington Bans Neonics from County-Managed Lands

(Beyond Pesticides, January 8, 2015) At the close of 2014, Thurston County in Washington State became the first county government to ban the use of neonicotinoid insecticides on county-owned and managed lands. The ban comes in the form of an amended pest and vegetation policy and was passed by County Commissioners by a 3-0 vote in favor of the amendment. According to The Olympian, the ban will impact 77 acres of county facilities, 2,646 acres of parks, 47.1 miles of trails, and one mile of right-of-way landscape. Commissioners instituted the ban because of concerns over the pesticides effects on pollinators. Neonicotinoids (“neonics”) are a relatively new class of insecticides that share a common mode of action that affect the central nervous system of insects, resulting in paralysis and death. They include imidacloprid, acetamiprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, nithiazine, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam. Recent scientific research has uncovered many uncertainties and new information on neonic-induced adverse impacts with regard to the environmental fate and sublethal exposure on foraging behavior of pollinators. Thurston County’s ban is not the first time the county has taken up the issue of neonics in defense of pollinators. In 2013, the Commissioners petitioned the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) […]

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06
Jan

Fish and Wildlife Service to Consider Federal Protection for Monarch Butterfly

(Beyond Pesticides, January 6, 2015) At the close of 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced plans to conduct a year-long status review of the monarch butterfly to determine whether the species is eligible for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). FWS is taking this action as result of an August 2014 legal petition filed by health and environmental groups that presented substantial information indicating that listing under the ESA may be warranted. In November 2014, Beyond Pesticides joined over 200 environmental groups and businesses in a letter asking for federal protection for monarch butterflies in the wake of shocking declines. The North American monarch butterfly population fell by 90 percent in the past 20 years, dropping from a high of approximately  one billion in the mid-1990s to fewer than 35 million butterflies in the winter of 2013-2014— the lowest number ever recorded. Each year monarch butterflies travel over 2,000 miles between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, across multiple generations, to reach their winter hibernation grounds in late October. As FWS indicates, this journey has become “more perilous for many monarchs” due to threats along their migratory paths. Scientists believe the butterfly’s decline is being driven in […]

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03
Dec

USDA to Offer Emergency Disaster Assistance for Bees

(Beyond Pesticides, December 3, 2014) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced last week that nearly 2,500 applicants will receive disaster assistance through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) for losses suffered from Oct. 1, 2011, through Sept. 30, 2013. The program, re-authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides disaster relief for farmers and producers not covered by other agricultural disaster assistance programs. Beekeepers who reported losses due to colony collapse disorder will be eligible, a move that many in the beekeeping industry welcome. ELAP provides disaster relief to livestock, honey bee, and farm-raised fish producers not covered by other agricultural disaster assistance programs. Eligible losses may include excessive heat or winds, flooding, blizzards, hail, wildfires, lightning strikes, volcanic eruptions, and diseases, or in the case of honey bees, losses due to colony collapse disorder. According to USDA, beekeepers, most of whom suffered honey bee colony losses, represent more than half of ELAP recipients. Enrollment for the program began last spring and ended in August 2014, and eligible farmers, beekeepers and producers must have submitted documentation of losses for enrollment in the program. Beekeepers have been experiencing historical losses in their bee hives and […]

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