WASHINGTON, April 2, 2015— A group of 12 senators, mostly Republicans, sent a letter this week to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy asking her to explain the steps the agency is taking to protect pollinator health, and to consult producers along the way.
“We want to be sure EPA engages grower organizations and other stakeholders most affected by any regulatory review,” the letter signers said.
“We have concerns about reports that the agency may be planning to regulate some pesticides, particularly neonicotinoid products, without sufficient understanding of all the environmental stressors facing pollinators,” the letter states.
A phenomenon affecting honey bee populations known as colony collapse disorder (CCD), a syndrome in which worker bees from a honey bee colony abruptly disappear, gained public attention about a decade ago. Most studies attribute bee losses to multiple factors, including the damaging effects of the varroa mite, the loss of forage and nutrition, as well as pesticide use. Environmental groups are putting pressure on the EPA to rein in agricultural chemical companies on the production and use of neonicotinoids, a pesticide often applied as a seed treatment. However, Syngenta, Bayer and Valent U.S.A. commissioned a study from AgInfomatics, which says that if neonicotinoids are banned, growers and horticulturalists will turn to older, more toxic chemicals that must be applied more heavily
The letter signers ask McCarthy to ensure her agency “is investigating the entire range of possible factors that impact pollinator health, and will follow all administrative requirements before completing any potential rulemakings. They also ask EPA to “take care to investigate all the likely impacts on pollinator health before taking regulatory action.”
The letter was signed by Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.; Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.; Pat Roberts, R-Kan.; Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; John Boozman, R-Ark.; David Perdue, R-Ga.; Deb Fischer, R-Neb.; James M. Inhofe, R-Okla.; Thad Cochran, R-Miss.; Thom Tillis, R-N.C.; Roger Wicker, R-Miss.; and Richard Burr, R-N.C.
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