Issue Date: May 15, 2017
EPA approval of neonicotinoids violated U.S. endangered species law, court says
In a win for beekeepers and wildlife groups, a federal trial court ruled that EPA violated the Endangered Species Act when it approved the use of 59 products containing neonicotinoid pesticides between 2007 and 2012. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued the opinion in response to a 2013 lawsuit filed against EPA by food safety advocates, beekeepers, and other public interest groups. The groups claim that two neonicotinoid insecticides—clothianidin and thiamethoxam—“have been shown to adversely impact the survival, growth, and health of honeybees and other pollinators vital to U.S. agriculture.” Also, these pesticides have “harmful effects on other animals, including threatened and endangered species,” the groups contend. The court determined that EPA failed to consult with the Fish & Wildlife Service about the effects of the two pesticides on endangered and threatened species. The court sided with EPA, meanwhile, on several other points raised in the suit. For example, the court rejected claims that EPA’s 2012 denial of a petition to ban clothianidin poses an “imminent hazard” to bees.
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