Blumenauer, Conyers, 58 Others Send Letter Urging EPA to Take Immediate Action to Protect Pollinators
Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) and John Conyers (MI-13), along with 58 other Members of the House of Representatives, sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Gina McCarthy, with a series of immediate changes that should be made to protect pollinators from the impacts of neonicotinoid pesticides.
Commercial beekeepers across the country experienced extremely high colony losses this past winter, and hives have yet to recover to full strength. Native pollinators, such as bumblebees, have also suffered alarming population declines, and two species now have petitions pending for protection under the Endangered Species Act. There are currently over 40 pollinator species Federally-listed as threatened or endangered, and, most recently, the iconic monarch butterfly has declined by 90 percent.
Studies have indicated adverse impacts of pesticides to many native pollinator species – these risks must be curbed before more species approach extinction. Most recently, research published in the journal Nature showed that the most severe bird population declines occurred in those areas where neonicotinoid pollution was highest. Starlings, tree sparrows, and swallows were among the most affected.
“Protecting our pollinators is essential to the health and future of our environment and our species,” said Blumenauer. “I’m going to keep hammering away on this issue until we can ensure that the products we are using in our backyards and on our farms are not killing pollinators. I’m passionate about it. Oregonians are passionate about it. You only have to look at the reaction to the die off of 50,000 bumblebees in Wilsonville last summer to know that. It’s time for the EPA to act.”
“I urge Administrator McCarthy to take immediate action to address the neonicotinoid danger,” said Conyers. “The health of these bees and butterflies is essential to the health of our own human species. This is about more than environmental stewardship—it’s about humanity’s food supply."
“It is critical that EPA act swiftly to protect our vital pollinators from harmful pesticides,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety. “Until then, it is clear is that Congressional leaders, like Representatives Earl Blumenauer and John Conyers, are willing to stand up on behalf of beekeepers and the environment to ensure that this urgent issue gets the attention it deserves.”
“Friends of the Earth applauds these leaders in Congress who are doing the right thing for our environment, farmers and food supply,” said Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food futures campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “We urge EPA to suspend neonicotinoid pesticides and do more to protect pollinators.”
The letter and full recommendations are attached.