Policy: Environment & Energy

Beekeepers: 'EPA is killing us'

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Environment,Climate Change,EPA,Energy and Environment,Bees,Insects

The nation's beekeepers, already on the verge of collapse from the devastating but mysterious "colony collapse disorder," have united to appeal the EPA's approval of a new Dow AgroScience pesticide that they say is toxic to pollinators  and considered the last nail in the little bug's coffin.

Their appeal in federal court comes after many say that the Environmental Protection Agency ignored their concerns that the pesticide, which will be marketed under the names Transform and Closer, is a bee-killer and threatens to wipe out the nation's pollinators needed in the development of most fruits, vegetables and nuts.

"The EPA is charged with preventing unreasonable risk to our livestock, our livelihoods, and most importantly, the nation's food supply," said Bret Adee, president of the board of the National Pollinator Defense Fund. "This situation requires an immediate correction from the EPA to ensure the survival of commercial pollinators, native pollinators, and the plentiful supply of seed, fruits, vegetables, and nuts that pollinators make possible."

The beekeepers have two problems with the new-style pesticide. They claim that the EPA didn't study it enough and they want a tougher label that blocks its use when bees are pollinating.

Beekeeper Jeff Anderson, who is part of the group appealing the EPA's decision, said, the "approval of Sulfoxaflor with no enforceable label protections for bees will speed our industry's demise."

The EPA said that it is requiring Dow to include label language that will protect pollinators, but Anderson said, "There is absolutely no mandatory language on the label that protects pollinators."

The beekeeping industry is already in trouble. About 40 percent of the nation's hives were killed last year, bringing the total lost to at least $1.61 billion over the last six years. The industry is still suffering from colony collapse disorder, which many blame on pesticides.

Overall, the industry has lost 5,650,000 hives over the past seven years. Each hive cost about $200, putting the loss at $1.13 billion. Add in the lost honey production from those hives, and the loss grows to $1.61 billion. "The problem is pretty large," said Adee, co-owner of Adee Honey Farms in Bruce, S.D.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.

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