Lawsuit targets use of systemic pesticides
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Conservation advocates say the EPA put honeybees at risk by approving a bee-killing pesticide without adequately considering the potential impacts of the toxic chemical.
Sulfoxaflor is the first of a newly assigned sub-class of pesticides in the neonicotinoid class of pesticides and is considered by the EPA to be “highly toxic.” Many scientists across the globe have linked this class of pesticides as a potential factor to widespread and massive bee colony losses.
Represented by Earthjustice, the struggling beekeeping industry is challenging the EPA in court, claiming that the EPA violated federal laws by dismissing the input from their risk assessors that the field tests supplied by the manufacturer Dow Chemical were insufficient to adequately determine pollinator safety.
“This case is really quite simple: bees are getting wiped out, and yet the EPA rubber stamped another bee-killing pesticide,” said Earthjustice attorney Greg Loarie. “EPA failed the beekeeping industry and all of us who rely on a sustainable food supply by refusing to consider threats to pollinators from this new pesticide.”
The groups also claim that the EPA’s labeling doesn’t adequately mitigate the risk Sulfoxaflor poses to bees, and that the agency also failed to accurately measure Sulfoxaflor’s costs and benefits by ignoring the harm the pesticide causes to the beekeeping industry and to the crops that require bees for pollination.
The EPA is required by the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act to determine that a pesticide does not pose an unreasonable risk to the environment or to economic interests. T
The Pollinator Stewardship Council (formerly, the National Pollinator Defense Fund), National Honey Bee Advisory Board, American Honey Producers Association, the American Beekeeping Federation, and beekeepers Bret Adee, Jeff Anderson and Thomas R. Smith are being represented in this case by the public interest law organization Earthjustice.
“Native and managed pollinators are a national resource providing an irreplaceable service in the production of high quality fruits and vegetables for our families,” said Rick Smith, beekeeper and farmer. “Pesticide application is a stewardship responsibility farmers take seriously. The EPA neglected to provide mandatory label instructions which would protect pollinators and allow farmers to proudly live up to that stewardship responsibility.”