Markey: Let’s not bumble with potentially harmful pesticides and bees

Markey, the ranking member on the House Natural Resources Committee, sent a letter Wednesday where he cited recent research that found a group of pesticides, known as neonicotinoids and clothianidin, may be jeopardizing bee populations and with them important food crops and jobs.

ADVERTISEMENT
“I am writing to inquire what steps the EPA is taking to ensure that there is sufficient scientific understanding of how clothianidin and other pesticides impact honeybees and other pollinators,” Markey wrote.

Markey said bee pollination contributes an estimated $15 billion in additional crop yields. Scientists have been researching “Colony Collapse Disorder,” a phenomenon that results in the death of the Queen and immature bees after the abandonment of worker bees. Some have said pesticides could be a contributing factor to Colony Collapse Disorder. Neonicotinoid pesticides have only been in use recently, which correlates with the recent bee population declines.

Markey noted that several European countries, such as Germany, France and Italy, have restricted or banned the use of these pesticides in an effort to protect bee populations.

“Given the concerns raised by scientists about the impacts of neonicotinoids on bee colonies, actions taken by other countries to restrict or ban the use of these chemicals and the EPA’s role in the oversight of pesticides registration and use, I request that you respond to the following questions and provide supporting documents no later than Sept. 9,” the letter states.

Markey’s letter was prompted by an EPA decision last month to deny a request for an emergency suspension of the use of the chemicals based on the grounds that there wasn’t sufficient evidence that the pesticides were linked to the death of bees.

Markey is asking whether the EPA investigated the affects of neonicotinoids on honeybees and, if so, what the investigation found.