The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday announced restrictions on new or expanded uses of harmful neonicotinoid pesticides that may pose risks to honey bees and other pollinators, but environmental groups say the moratorium—while welcome—does not go far enough.
A day after Portland, Oregon’s city commission suspended the use of pesticides on its property to protect honey bees, the EPA told companies using neonicotinoids that the agency will halt granting permits for those pesticides until it can assess the threats they pose to pollinators. The widespread use of certain herbicides and pesticides has come under increased scrutiny in recent years after a noted decline in bee populations, which play a crucial part in food production.
But a number of national and state-based environmental groups have called on the EPA to expand its protection of pollinators to include a ban on products already on the market.
“It’s welcome news that EPA is finally beginning to address the threat that neonics pose to the nation’s bees and other pollinators, but given the threats to the nation’s food and farming system, more is needed,” Kristin Schafer, policy director at Pesticide Action Network North America, said in a press release. “Numerous bee-harming neonics and their cousin products are already on the market, and seed coatings in particular have led to a dramatic surge in use over the last few years. EPA should go further to place a moratorium on existing products.”
“Allowing increased toxic exposure to my bees and then announcing a moratorium? Very disingenuous.”—Jeff Anderson, California Minnesota Honey Farms
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT