(Beyond Pesticides, July 17, 2013) Capitol Hill is buzzing about a new bill that aims to provide long overdue protections for America’s imperiled pollinators. Representatives John Conyers (D-MI) and Earl Blumenauer (D- OR) introduced H.R. 2692, The Saving America’s Pollinators Act, calling for the suspension of neonicotinoids, a class of systemic pesticides that are killing bees.
The United States is lagging behind our European neighbors when it comes to the protection of pollinator health. Earlier this year, the EU announced a two-year suspension on these bee-killing pesticides. Now it’s time for the U.S. to act.
The Save America’s Pollinators Act will suspend the use of neonicotinoid pesticides until a full review of scientific evidence and a field study demonstrates no harmful impacts to pollinators.
Following the introduction of the legislation, Reps. Conyers and Blumenauer issued the following statement:
Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich): “One of every three bites of food we eat is from a crop pollinated by honey bees. These crops include apples, avocados, cranberries, cherries, broccoli, peaches, carrots, grapes, soybeans, sugar beets and onions. Unfortunately, unless swift action is taken, these crops, and numerous others, will soon disappear due to the dramatic decline of honey bee populations throughout the country.
“For over a decade now, honey bees have been suffering rapid population losses as a result of a phenomenon known as ”˜colony collapse disorder.’ Another decade of these mass die-offs will severely threaten our agricultural economy and food supply. Scientists have reported that common symptoms of this decline are attributed to the use of a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids. The ”˜Saving America’s Pollinators Act’ will address this threat to honey bee populations by suspending the use of certain neonicotinoids and by requiring the EPA to conduct a full review of the scientific evidence before allowing the entry of other neonicotinoids into the market.”
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.): “Pollinators are not only vital to a sustainable environment, but key to a stable food supply. When incidents like the alarming mass bee die-off of more than 50,000 bumblebees that happened recently in Wilsonville, Oregon occur, it is imperative that we take a step back to make sure we understand all the factors involved and move swiftly to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future.”
The systemic residues of these pesticides not only contaminate pollen, nectar, and the wider environment, but have repeatedly been identified as highly toxic to honey bees.
With one in three bites of food reliant on bees and other beneficial species for pollination, the decline of honey bees and other pollinators demands swift action. Mounting scientific evidence, along with unprecedented annual colony losses at 40 to 90 percent this year, demonstrate the impacts that these pesticides are having on these fragile species.
The Saving America’s Pollinators Act of 2013 has been endorsed by the American Bird Conservancy, Beyond Pesticides, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Environmental Health, the Center for Food Safety, Earthjustice, Equal Exchange, Family Farm Defenders, Friends of the Earth, Food Democracy Now!, Food and Water Watch, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, the National Cooperative Grocers Association, the Organic Consumers Association, Pesticide Action Network North America, the Sierra Club, and the Xerces Society.
Let’s BEE Protective and support a shift away from the use of these toxic chemicals by encouraging organic methods and sustainable land management practices in your home, campus, or community.