MANHATTAN (CN) – Even as honeybees suffer widespread mortality from a mysterious disease, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved a new pesticide, spirotetramat, despite evidence that it could “cause serious harm to bees,” the Natural Resources Defense Council says in Federal Court.
The NRDC says the feds approved the pesticide in June 2008 without adequate review, without notice and without seeking public comment.
Bees pollinate nearly 70 percent of the world’s flowering plants, contributing billions of dollars to U.S. agriculture every year. The NRDC and co-plaintiff the Xerces Society say that “For reasons that are still unknown, bee populations in the United States have plummeted in recent years.” The mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder has unnerved beekeepers, farmers and growers worldwide in the past three years.
The EPA approved spirotetramat for use on a wide variety of crops, including apples, pears, peaches, plums, cherries, apricots, oranges, citrus fruits, cucumbers, squash, watermelon, tomatoes, peppers, grapes, lettuce, onions, tree nuts and other crops. It also approved it “for use directly on livestock and in plant nurseries,” according to the complaint.
It did this even though “In its Fact Sheet, EPA concludes that spirotetramat causes significant mortality and ‘massive perturbation’ to honey bee broods (larvae) through trace residues brought back to the hive by adult bees. EPA approved spirotetramat despite this identified harm to bees.”
Co-plaintiff the Xerces Society is dedicated to protecting wildlife by preserving invertebrates and their habitat.
Plaintiffs want the EPA approval rescinded. They are represented by Mitchell Bernard.