Beekeepers Up In Arms Over Latest Pesticide Ruling By EPA

Beekeepers up in arms over new EPA ruling

Beekeepers Object To EPA’s Approval Of Allowing Pesticides For Weed Control

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ruled that farmers can use a pesticide to control weeds and bugs. Beekeepers around the country are voicing their strenuous objections to the decision. The EPA released a study in conjunction with Friday’s ruling, siting that the pesticides pose only ‘a low risk.’ The chemical at issue is made with ‘sulfoxaflor,’ which is now being allowed as a bug and weed killer.

The Trump Administration gave the green light to the chemical last week, using the EPA study as their ammunition. Several lawsuits have been filed against that specific weed killer for it’s possible harm to humans and the environment. The maker of the weed killer is ‘Corteva Agrisscience, (CA) which was created after the company merged with DowDupont. Honeybees are essential in their ability to pollinate US food crops that net billions of dollars in revenue.

Honeybee’s Ability To Pollinate Is Sharply Declining Due To Environmental Issues

Beekeepers lost 38% of their bee colonies in the winter of 2018. That is the highest loss in one year according to a study by the University of Maryland. Sorgham growers have been the most aggressive in the quest to get the EPA to approve sulfoxaflor. Consequently, Sorgham growers have relentlessly pursued the EPA, to get them to allow sulfoxaflor’s use as an insecticide. In fact, this has been a long running debate between the EPA and beekeepers and environmentalists.

In 2015 a federal appeals court ruled that the EPA must overturn their approval of sulfoxaflor. The ruling determined that at that point not enough information was known about harmful effects. In facts, that lawsuit was the result of an action brought about by the US Beekeepers Association. Furthermore, the EPA is standing by it’s Friday ruling, according to assistant EPA Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn. Ms. Dunn said solid statistics gleamed from studies indicate that harmful effects from this chemical are very low. In fact, Dunn said the statistics from various studies have not been made public yet.

EPA Says The Chemical Sulfoxaflor Has An Almost Non Existent Risk To Bees & Other Creatures

The EPA and Beekeepers are basically at different ends of the spectrum relating to the harm this chemical causes. Dunn wanted to make it clear that the targeted pests including weeds are killed off by sulfoxaflor. Dunn said in addition to Friday’s ruling, new guidelines have also been set in place. Furthermore, the guidelines say spraying is forbidden on plants with nuts bearing plants and fruits in bloom. Those specific restrictions will make sure that when bees are pollinating they are protected Dunn said.

The EPA believes these restrictions are a happy medium, and will act as a tool for growers. On the other side of the argument, Michele Colopy, who is the program director for Pollinator Stewardship Council. Colopy says these restrictions ‘just not enough to protect bees and other bugs, whose numbers are dwindling. Furthermore, Colopy said the need for farmers to have chemicals to keep their crops from being destroyed is understandable. However the tools they use are destroying beneficial bugs, who are at great risk.