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EPA Knows It Should Ban Bee-Killing Pesticides--But Will It?

As Leonard Cohen famously sang, everybody knows.

Everybody, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), knows that neonicotinoid pesticides harm bees. 

But here’s a part of the story you may have missed: Monsanto, Bayer and Syngenta coat their GMO corn seeds with neonics, then charge farmers extra for them—even though studies show that neonic-coated seeds provide no real benefit to farmers. 

Why do farmers pay extra for seeds that have no extra benefit? Because the biotech companies that have a monopoly on GMO seeds offer only neonic-coated seeds.

That’s not good for farmers. Or bees.

It’s also not good for humans, when neonics end up in our water and food.

After Obama’s EPA admitted that neonics kill bees the agency began work on a docket that could be used to restrict the use of neonics.

But just before passing the baton to Trump, the EPA walked back an earlier proposal for mandatory rules on how neonics can be used while honeybees are pollinating crops.

Trump’s EPA is doing more of the same, acknowledging scientific evidence that birds can die from eating neonic-treated seeds, while tipping the scales toward supposed benefits to farmers.

A decade into the colony collapse crisis, politicians on both sides know better than to pretend there’s nothing wrong with neonics. But will they do anything about it?

So far, Trump’s EPA has taken every opportunity to side with industry, including chemical and biotech companies, willfully ignoring the consequences for human health and the environment.

All the more reason to keep up the pressure. Please let the EPA know, by midnight February 20, that you support a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, by signing this petition.

Alexis Baden-Mayer is OCA’s political director. Sign up here for news and alerts from OCA.