Court overturns EPA’s approval of bee-harming pesticide

Court overturns EPA’s approval of bee-harming pesticide
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A federal court ruled Thursday that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) violated the law when it approved an insecticide produced by Dow AgroSciences.

The ruling from the San Francisco-based Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit means that sulfoxaflor, marketed by Dow under the brand names Transform and Closer, is currently not approved for use on U.S. crops.

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“Because the EPA’s decision to unconditionally register sulfoxaflor was based on flawed and limited data, we conclude that the unconditional approval was not supported by substantial evidence,” the court wrote in its opinion.

“We therefore vacate the EPA’s registration of sulfoxaflor.”

The decision is a major win for environmentalists, beekeepers and the honey industry, who have been fighting for years against pesticides and other factors that are leading to a sharp decline in bee populations.

The industry groups filed the lawsuit in 2013 after the EPA unconditionally approved sulfoxaflor’s use despite what opponents said was strong evidence that it is toxic to bees.

EPA spokeswoman Melissa Harrison said that the agency is reviewing the decision and considering its next steps.