The pesticide industry has weakened and delayed pesticide reforms and is shaping new state pollinator “protection” plans nationwide that do little to protect bees, according to a new Friends of the Earth report. The report is being released in advance of Pollinator Week (June 20-26, 2016), as people assemble to ask for improved protection for pollinators.
The investigation, Buzz Kill: How the Pesticide Industry is Clipping the Wings of Bee Protection Efforts Across the U.S., reveals an array of pesticide industry tactics to slow urgently needed pollinator protection measures at federal and state levels. The report details how new state pollinator protection plans, many still unfinished, have been heavily influenced by pesticide industry interests. According to the report, industry is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbying to delay state and federal action on the chemicals they manufacture. As a result, state pollinator protection plans across the U.S. are falling short in several ways, including:
• State pollinator protection plans currently provide more protections for pesticides and pesticide users than for bee keepers and bee colonies.
• Pesticide industry influence is pervasive throughout states’ legislative and regulatory planning efforts.
• Plans lack metrics to measure effectiveness, improvement or failure.
Industry giants, like Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto, have long been known to influence shaping federal and state pesticide policies to their benefit. In what is known as the revolving door at federal agencies, employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have shuffled between regulatory agencies and pesticide companies. The pesticide industry also directly funds or influences science by donating to education initiatives and building strategic alliances with academics.
Buzz Kill updates FOE’s 2014 “Follow the Honey” report, which revealed how chemical companies Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto employ deceptive tobacco-style public relations tactics to manufacture doubt about scientific findings on pollinator die-offs, and protect chemical industry sales and profits at the expense of bees and our environment.
However, in light of federal inaction and industry influence, beekeepers, activists and concerned individuals are gearing up the celebrate pollinators and call for stronger protections this Pollinator Week which run from June 20-26, 2016.