Bee advocates and anti-pesticide activists have long known said that pesticides, and specifically neonicontinoids are implicated in bee deaths and die-offs. The Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides announced today that Rep. Earl Blumenauer has revealed a new bill — the Save America's Pollinators Act of 2013 — that would "suspend registration for certain neonicotinoid pesticides and perform a new evaluation of their impacts on pollinators" (see the full press release below).
Neonics, which are widely available in places such as Jerry's Home Improvement and Bi-Mart, are linked to the deaths of thousands of bees in Portland, which led to the Oregon Department of Agriculture insituting a temporary halt to the use of products containing dinotefuran, a neonicontinoid that was sprayed on flowering trees.
Local bee advocates are planning a "Nix the Neonics" event on July 20 at Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza with songs, theater and a scavenger hunt. More details in next week's EW.
Eugene, OR - Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) revealed a new bill today that directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to suspend registration for certain neonicotinoid pesticides and perform a new evaluation of their impacts on pollinators. Neonicotinoids, a particular class of pesticide, have been widely linked to declining bee populations and were recently determined to have been the cause of dramatic and ongoing bee kills in both Wilsonville and Hillsboro, Oregon.
Blumenauer's bill, the Save America's Pollinators Act of 2013, is co-sponsored by Representative John Conyers (D-MI). It specifically targets systemic pesticides registered for use in seed applications, soil applications, or foliar spray on plants that are attractive to bees. If passed, EPA would have 180 days to restrict these uses. They would also be required to work with the U.S. Department of the Interior to report on the current status of bee populations in the United States, and to monitor more closely the changes in population levels.
"It's encouraging to see lawmakers responding seriously to this issue and proposing real solutions," said Josh Vincent of the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides, an organization supporting the bill. "These pesticides have drawn a lot of scrutiny from beekeepers, scientists, and environmentalists because of their increasingly evident impact on bees. We agree that EPA needs to take a closer look at the effects these chemicals are having, and that they need to do it sooner rather than later."
Supporters of the bill, including other advocacy groups like the Xerces Society and the Center for Food Safety, are now organizing to grow momentum in the House of Representatives.