Friday, September 11, 2015

EPA erred in allowing pesticide harmful to honeybees to be marketed, appeals court rules

The Environmental Protection Agency should not have allowed an insecticide blamed for killing bees to be developed to be marketed by Dow AgroSciences, a U.S. Appeals court ruled on Thursday, Carey Gillam reports for Reuters. The ruling "is significant for commercial beekeepers and others who say a dramatic decline in bee colonies needed to pollinate key food crops is tied to widespread use of a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids. Critics say EPA is failing to evaluate the risks thoroughly." (Reuters photo by Dominic Ebenbichler)

The lawsuit filed in 2013 "specifically challenged EPA approval of insecticides containing sulfoxaflor, saying studies have shown they are highly toxic to honey bees," Gillam writes. Honeybees, which pollinate $15 billion worth of crops, have been dying at higher than average rates every winter, losing 42.1 percent of colonies last year. Overall, colonies actually rose from 2.4 million to 2.7 million from 2006-2014.

While beekeepers praised Thursday's decision, "Dow said in a statement that it 'respectfully disagrees' with the ruling and will 'work with EPA to implement the order and to promptly complete additional regulatory work to support the registration of the products,'" Gillam writes.

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