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U.S. EPA questioned on its analysis of bee risks from sulfoxaflorqrcode

Apr. 17, 2015

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Apr. 17, 2015
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday is scheduled to hear oral arguments in a case that beekeepers say could shapes the future of the insect.

National beekeeper groups say the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency(U.S. EPA) was wrong when it approved use of a powerful bee-killing pesticide called pesticide sulfoxaflor, which they say has been proven to be “highly toxic” to honey bees and other insect pollinators.

Earthjustice Attorney Greg Loarie is to argue on behalf of the Pollinator Stewardship Council, the American Honey Producers Association, the National Honey Bee Advisory Board, the American Beekeeping Federation, and beekeepers Bret Adee, Jeff Anderson and Thomas Smith in case that has 9 a.m. oral arguments in San Francisco.

Sulfoxaflor is a new chemistry, and the first of a newly assigned sub-class of pesticides in the “neonicotinoid” class of pesticides, which have been linked as a potential factor to widespread and massive bee colony collapse, the beekeepers say.

The case is filed as the beekeeping industry across the country struggles for survival, and faces the costly effects of pesticides on their businesses. Specifically, plaintiffs are requesting changes in the Sulfoxaflor label, the Biological Economic Assessment Division assessment of the value of pollinators and their established habits, and the EPA’s Risk Assessment Process.

Honeybees are the vital “hired hand” for Central Valley farmers. The state’s massive $3 billion almond crop, for example, relies on there being enough bees to pollinate the trees every spring.

Earthjustice says that one in every three bites of food depends on bees for pollination, and the annual value of pollination services worldwide are estimated at over $125 billion. In the United States, pollination contributes $20-$30 billion in agricultural production annually.

Twenty-nine independent scientists conducted a global review of 800 independent studies and found overwhelming evidence of pesticides linked to bee declines, says Earthjustice.


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