RSN Fundraising Banner
Trump EPA OKs 'Emergency' to Dump Bee-Killing Pesticide on 16 Million Acres
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=32958"><span class="small">Center For Biological Diversity</span></a>   
Tuesday, 19 February 2019 09:36

Excerpt: "The EPA reported last week that in 2018 it issued so-called 'emergency' approvals to spray sulfoxaflor - an insecticide the agency considers 'very highly toxic' to bees - on more than 16 million acres of crops known to attract bees."

A honey bee. (photo: Flickr)
A honey bee. (photo: Flickr)

Trump EPA OKs 'Emergency' to Dump Bee-Killing Pesticide on 16 Million Acres

By Center for Biological Diversity

19 February 19


he U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported last week that in 2018 it issued so-called "emergency" approvals to spray sulfoxaflor—an insecticide the agency considers "very highly toxic" to bees—on more than 16 million acres of crops known to attract bees.

Of the 18 states where the approvals were granted for sorghum and cotton crops, 12 have been given the approvals for at least four consecutive years for the same "emergency."

Last year the EPA's Office of the Inspector General released a report finding that the agency's practice of routinely granting "emergency" approval for pesticides across millions of acres does not effectively measure risks to human health or the environment.

"Spraying 16 million acres of bee-attractive crops with a bee-killing pesticide in a time of global insect decline is beyond the pale, even for the Trump administration," said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. "The EPA is routinely misusing the 'emergency' process to get sulfoxaflor approved because it's too toxic to make it through normal pesticide reviews."

Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, the EPA has the authority to approve temporary emergency uses of pesticides, even those not officially approved, if the agency determines it is needed to prevent the spread of an unexpected outbreak of crop-damaging insects, for example. But the provision has been widely abused.

That widespread abuse was chronicled in the Center for Biological Diversity's recent report, Poisonous Process: How the EPA's Chronic Misuse of 'Emergency' Pesticide Exemptions Increases Risks to Wildlife. The report concludes that emergency exemptions for sulfoxaflor are essentially a backdoor authorization allowing for its ongoing use on millions of acres of crops where exposure to pollinators through contaminated pollen is high. In fact, the so-called "emergencies" cited are routine and foreseeable occurrences.

Previously, in response to a lawsuit by beekeepers, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the EPA's original registration of sulfoxaflor in 2015. The EPA's new 2016 registration for sulfoxaflor—purportedly designed to ensure essentially no exposure to bees—excluded crops like cotton and sorghum that are attractive to bees.

A compilation of federal register notices indicates that sulfoxaflor was approved on 16.2 million acres of cotton and sorghum crops in 2018 on an emergency basis. Emergency approvals were granted in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

"The EPA is far too eager to find loopholes to approve harmful pesticides when it should be focusing on keeping people and wildlife safe from those pesticides," said Donley. "The routine abuse of emergency exemptions has to stop."

A recent study published in Nature found that sulfoxaflor exposure at low doses had severe consequences for bumblebee reproductive success. The authors cautioned against the EPA's current trajectory of replacing older neonicotinoids with nearly identical insecticides like sulfoxaflor.

A major study published earlier this month found that more than 41 percent of the world's insect species are on the fast track to extinction, and that a "serious reduction in pesticide usage" is key to preventing their extinction.

Email This Page your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+6 # AldoJay69 2019-02-19 10:23
If I can't see it, it must not be happening (sarcasm font).
+7 # Harvard72 2019-02-19 12:35
This kind of deliberate harm to the environment to please the manufacturers of the BANNED pesticide and the farmers should be a scandal that gets headlines and top of the hour reporting. The idiocy of what Trump says and does is distracting from the very real damage, the very real harm, that he and his henchmen (henchwomen) are causing every day. I cannot stand reading reports like this-- it is sad and sickening.
+6 # twocents 2019-02-19 12:50
Dump it on Washington DC.
+1 # Robbee 2019-02-19 13:32
"finish the bees!"

"make mexico pay for it?"
+7 # Glen 2019-02-19 14:35
It is becoming increasingly difficult to read environmental reports, and this article is exactly the reason why. Human beings truly ARE the scourge on the planet. We were warned, but few paid attention.
+3 # jimallyn 2019-02-19 14:37
Absolutely criminal. What needs to happen is for citizens to take direct action: if you see pesticide spraying, stop it, by whatever means necessary. Likewise with climate change: if you see a pipeline being constructed, or a new well being drilled, or a new coal mine being dug, stop it, by whatever means necessary. Trump's actions endanger every living thing on Earth, and we have the right to defend ourselves.
+3 # futhark 2019-02-19 18:09
Donald Trump thinks that people entering the United States without authorizing documents constitutes an "emergency". He and his "Red State" agricultural followers need to wait a bit longer as the pollinating insects upon which so much of their crops of fruit and nuts rely drop precipitously in numbers due to the overuse and abuse of toxic insecticides. That will provoke an economic crisis in food production that no one will be able to contest and for which those responsible cannot deny their culpability.
+4 # Adoregon 2019-02-19 18:11
The primary emergency today lies between Donald Trump's ears.

Releasing poison into the atmosphere and onto plants and the earth only makes America stupid while killing insects and other creatures important to the environment and to all life on earth.

Stop the killing!
Stop the poisoning!