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Good news for the honey bees that swarm in Eugene, Ore.: the city just became the first in the country to ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, one of the types linked to declining honey bee populations.
According to Beyond Pesticides, “several bee-kill incidents occurred in Oregon last summer, including one that killed more than 50,000,bumble bees after a licensed pesticide applicator sprayed blooming linden trees, a violation of the pesticide label. After a preliminary investigation, the Oregon Department of Agriculture confirmed that the massive bee die-off was caused by the use of the neonicotinoid insecticide, dinotefuran.”
Eugene is just one of many communities looking to prevent incidents like this. In Calif., N.Y., and N.J. similar language is being drafted for proposal that would limit pesticides, particularly the neonicotinoid type.
In addition to the new restrictions on these pesticides, Eugene will also expand its current pesticide-free parks program, and, according to Beyond Pesticides, “now requires all departments to adopt integrated pest management (IPM) standards.”
Pesticides are, in general, harmful to honey bees…as well as humans, pets, the environment…and the list goes on. Cheers to Eugene for realizing this and making some progress in the elimination of these harmful chemicals! We can’t wait to see other states following this precedent soon.
Like Eugene, there are other states and communities that have been trying to pass local policies relating specifically to neonicotinoids, bees and other pollinators. In California, beekeepers and local advocates are supporting a bill that would force the state of California to complete its evaluation of neonicotinoid pesticides, years ahead of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) review which is not scheduled to be completed before 2018. In Maryland, a bill containing language to restrict neonicotinoid pesticides was unfortunately recently withdrawn, after an “unfavorable report” by the environmental committee. In New York and New Jersey language has been drafted in the state legislature to restrict neonicotinoids in various ways.
Meanwhile in Congress, The Saving America’s Pollinator Act, H.R 2692, introduced by Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and Earl Blumenauer (D- OR), is gaining bipartisan support in the House. The bill seeks to suspend the use of neonicotinoid pesticides until a full review of scientific evidence and a field study demonstrates no harmful impacts to pollinators. The bill has been endorsed by several environmental groups, including Beyond Pesticides, Center for Food Safety, Center for Biological Diversity, Earthjustice and others.
It sounds like other states are getting onboard too, sensibly so imo. Eugene is also creating pesticide free parks, woohoo!
This is amazing news as this is something that is undereported and the lack of interest from people you try to get talking about this significant problem is disturbing!!