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Daily News Blog

04
May

Groups Urge Michelle Obama to Publicly Commit to Pollinator Health

(Beyond Pesticides, May 4, 2015) Beekeepers, farmworkers, environmental and consumer groups last week  sent a letter,  signed by over 200,000 Americans, urging Michelle Obama to publicly commit to ensuring the White House gardens and grounds are free of dangerous neonicotinoid pesticides. The letter also asks that the First Lady use her influence to encourage the Obama administration’s  White House Pollinator Health Task Force (Task Force)  to take a strong stand against these bee-toxic pesticides.

organicwhitehousegarden2More specifically, the letter urges Mrs. Obama to follow the guidelines outlined by the Council on Environmental Quality in October of last year by publicly pledging to eliminate systemic insecticides from the White House gardens and grounds, including not sourcing plants pre-treated with these pesticides.

In a memorandum announced in the summer of 2014, President Obama called forth the heads of executive departments to create a federal strategy promoting the health and safety of honey bees and other pollinators. The memorandum directed federal agencies to establish the Task Force to develop a pollinator health strategy within 180 days, and support and create pollinator habitat. This federal strategy included a pollinator research action plan, with a focus on preventing and recovering from pollinator losses, including studying how various stressors, including systemic pesticides, contribute to pollinator losses.

Although the President’s memorandum was applauded by Beyond Pesticides and other environmental organizations for recognizing the plight of the honey bee, the Task Force failed to reach its assigned deadline and delayed its recommendations in late 2014.

These lengthy delays have concerned beekeepers and environmental groups, which continue to urge the need for the White House to take swift and meaningful action to protect honey bees and other pollinators from toxic pesticides. In March of this year, over 125 conservation, beekeeping, food safety, religious, ethnic and farming advocacy groups, raised their voice through a letter sent in advance of the pending report, urging President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action immediately. 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 calling on the Obama administration to put forth strong protections for bees and other pollinators. “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.

The necessity to push the White House and EPA toward immediate action is even more critical, as new information about the dangers of neonicotinoids to bees emerged last month. Two new studies found that not only does neonicotinoid exposure result in reduced bee density, nesting, colony growth, and reproduction, but also bees in fact prefer foods containing neonicotinoid pesticides, despite their adverse effects. Essentially, bees can become addicted to foods treated with neonicotinoids in the same way that humans can become addicted to cigarettes.

Beyond Pesticides and other groups continue to fight for the suspension of bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides. Individuals can support these needed changes by going to save-bees.org and signing the petition to the White House. Call Beyond Pesticides at 202-543-5450 or send an email to [email protected] for other ways to get involved!

Source: Friends of the Earth

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

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One Response to “Groups Urge Michelle Obama to Publicly Commit to Pollinator Health”

  1. 1
    kim bowdish Says:

    Save our pollinators, save our grandchildren!

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