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Environment

Senators Urge EPA To Protect Bees

by Britt E. Erickson
December 1, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 48

Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and nine other senators are urging EPA to act quickly to address the risks of neonicotinoid pesticides on honeybees and other pollinators. In a Nov. 21 letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the lawmakers raise concerns about sublethal effects of the pesticides on bees, including impacts on navigation, behavior, reproduction, and disease resistance. The lawmakers also ask EPA to address potential effects of neonicotinoids on the broader environment, particularly endangered species, and human health. Pollinators play a critical role in food production and contribute $24 billion a year to the U.S. economy, the senators claim. The lawmakers are concerned because beekeepers have been reporting abnormally high losses of honeybees since 2006. Neonicotinoid pesticides are one of many factors that have been implicated in the decline of bees. The senators are asking EPA to provide information on how it is complying with its responsibilities under the federal pesticide law with respect to neonicotinoids. They are also questioning how EPA is complying with a recent presidential memorandum aimed at protecting pollinators.

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