Huge Victory for Bees! US Court Bans Insecticide Linked to Deaths
A United States appeals court ruled that federal regulators should not have approved the use of an insecticide, which is linked to a decline in bee populations, and determined that the EPA used “flawed and limited data”.
The ruling means farmers have to immediately stop using sulfoxaflor, marketed under the brand names Transform and Closer, unless and until the Environmental Protection Agency obtains more evidence regarding its effects on honeybees. Only then will the EPA be allowed to decide if it can re-approve the chemical for use on crops.
“It’s a complete victory for the beekeepers we represent,” said Greg Loarie, an attorney representing several commercial beekeeping groups told Reuters. “The EPA has not been very vigilant.”
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, and determined the EPA didn’t collect enough “substantial evidence” to prove sulfoxaflor was safe before approving its use.
Bee populations have been declining in recent years, and though some blame an attack of mites or viruses, beekeepers point to evidence that certain pesticides–neonicotinoids–that attack the central nervous system of insects are a huge contributor. Sulfoxaflor falls into that category.
While Europe has already banned their use, California and Ontario have strong restrictions on neonicotinoids and garden stores at Lowe’s had been phasing out its use.
The EPA had originally proposed several limits on sulfoxaflor’s use, but later backed off and approved it for unconditional use on crops. The court found that the EPA amended its policy even though the maker, Dow AgroSciences, failed to provided additional studies the EPA.