EPA argues its blog isn’t public information, won’t change post praising its work protecting pollinators

Image of EPA logo on window.

(The Hill) The Environmental Protection Agency won’t tweak a recent blog post environmentalists say is inaccurate. The tension stems from a June post on the agency’s blog that includes apparent praise for EPA action on pesticides considered harmful to bees. The Center for Biological Diversity filed a complaint under the Information Quality Act, which can be used to demand a correction of inaccurate information from government sources. The center’s complaint came in the wake of an EPA decision in July to expand the use of sulfoxaflor, a pesticide the agency previous said was very highly toxic to bees. In response, EPA has argued that the blog post is not considered public information and, therefore, not subject to the guidelines.

Lawsuit challenges EPA’s 200 million-acre expansion of pesticide harmful to bees

Image of leafcutter bee.

(Center for Biological Diversity) The Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Food Safety have sued the Trump administration over its July decision to approve use of the pesticide sulfoxaflor across more than 200 million acres of crops. The approval was granted despite the fact that the Environmental Protection Agency’s own scientists concluded that sulfoxaflor is “very highly toxic” to bees. The decision expands the pesticide’s use to a wide range of crops that attract bees, including soybeans, cotton, strawberries, squash and citrus. The Center’s fact sheet on sulfoxaflor can be found here.

EPA will allow use of pesticide harmful to bees

Image of beekeeper raising frame.

(The Hill) Sulfoxaflor’s use was temporarily barred after a lawsuit from beekeepers in 2015, but the EPA in 2016 changed its instructions for how to use the pesticide in a way designed to reduce the impact on bees. Cotton and sorghum were not included in the directive. The EPA’s Office of Inspector General wrote in a report last year that the agency did not have processes in place to determine how its emergency measures impact human and environmental health.