(Center for Biological Diversity) The Environmental Protection Agency reported that in 2019 it issued so-called “emergency” approvals to spray neonicotinoids — pesticides the agency itself recognizes as “very highly toxic” to bees. The great majority of those approvals were issued for the neonicotinoid called sulfoxaflor, prior to the EPA’s July decision to permanently expand its use. That decision, which obviates the need for further emergency approvals, has prompted multiple lawsuits from beekeepers, food-safety and conservation advocates.
(Phys.org) French authorities banned two U.S. pesticides which ecologists deem harmful to bees, on the grounds that they contain sulfoxaflor and “present a major risk of toxicity” to pollinators.
(The Hill) Earthjustice is suing the Environmental Protection Agency over a recent decision to expand the use of sulfoxaflor, a pesticide the agency previously called “very highly toxic to bees.” This is the second such suit over the decision, following one in August from the Center for Biological Diversity.
(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.
(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.
(PBS NewsHour) Friday’s EPA announcement makes sulfoxaflor the latest bug- and weed-killer defended by the Trump administration despite lawsuits alleging environmental or human harm. EPA said Friday that new industry studies that have not been made public show only a low level of risk to bees and other wildlife.
(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.