Democratic Lawmakers Reintroduce Bill to Protect Pollinators

Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, and Jim McGovern, D-Mass., have reintroduced the Saving America’s Pollinators Act.

The bill is designed to protect the health of honey bees and other critical pollinators. The United States lost an estimated one-third of its honeybee colonies between 2016 and 2017, with similar losses in prior years. To end this dramatic trend, the legislation suspends the use of bee-toxic insecticides known as neonicotinoids, which have been linked to declining pollinator populations. It also requires the Environmental Protection Agency to complete a thorough assessment and ensure that any uses of these insecticides do not cause unreasonable and adverse effects on pollinators.

“The health of our food system depends on the health of our pollinators,” Blumenauer said. “The status quo is like flying blind – we shouldn’t be using these pesticides when we don’t know their full impact. The EPA has a responsibility to get to the bottom of this issue and protect pollinators.”

“Pollinators are the backbone of America’s agriculture system. Acting now to protect them and stop their decline is essential to the sustainability of our nation’s food supply,” McGovern said. “Simply taking the word of the manufacturers that their products are safe is not an option. Consumers need strong oversight.”

Over the past decade, documented incidents of honey bee colony collapse disorder and other forms of excess bee mortality have reached a record high. In some cases, beekeepers have repeatedly lost 100% of their operations. Thousands of scientific studies have implicated neonicotinoids as key contributors to declining pollinator populations.

U.S. agriculture heavily relies on honey bees and native bees, which jointly provide an estimated $18 to $27 billion in pollination service annually. One of every three bites of food we eat is from a crop pollinated by bees. The Saving America’s Pollinator Act protects the health of our pollinators and food system until the EPA determines the risks associated with neonicotinoids.

Source: Southeast Farm Press

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