Ban on Bee-Killing Pesticides Overturned in National Wildlife Refuges

In another disappointing step backwards for the environment, the Trump administration has just overturned a ban on the use of pesticides and genetically modified crops on national wildlife refuges where farming is allowed.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Deputy Director Greg Sheehan, said in a memo this month that the reversal is necessary to ensure that migratory water fowl, such as ducks and geese, (who are coincidentally favored by hunters) have adequate foraging opportunities in wildlife refuges.

The move reverses an Obama-era ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics), and the use of genetically modified crops that require more pesticides that was put in place in 2014 to protect wildlife and ecosystems in the National Wildlife Refuge System following lawsuits and heavy campaigning.

Neonics can be used in sprays, but are often applied as a coating on agricultural seeds and when it is, it spreads throughout the plant as it grows making the whole thing poisonous to a variety of insects. Studies have shown that they can be lethal to honey bees,†bumble bees†and other species at high doses, but even a little bit can cause problems by making them more vulnerable to other stressors. Theyíve also been linked to Colony Collapse Disorder and have recently been found to be harmful to aquatic invertebrates and†birds.

Thatís not just bad news for†pollinators, itís bad news for us and the wild animals who depend on them to help pollinate crops and other wild plants we all depend on for food, and it’s especially offensive in refuges intended as havens. Now, however, the use of both will be decided on a case-by-case basis, and could be allowed on more than 50 refuges throughout the system.

Itís an unfortunate change, and itís being widely criticized by conservationists who have continued to raise concerns about the impact on pollinators and other wildlife.

ďAgricultural pesticides, especially bee-killing neonics, have no place on our national wildlife refuges,Ē said Hannah Connor, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, who recently authored a†report documenting the annual use of nearly half a million pounds highly toxic pesticides on wildlife refuges. ďThis huge backward step will harm bees and other pollinators already in steep decline simply to appease pesticide-makers and promote mono-culture farming techniques that trigger increased pesticide use. Itís senseless and shameful.Ē

While itís a huge step in the wrong direction, hopefully it wonít stand and other measures, such as passing the Saving Americaís Pollinators Act, will move forward to protect wildlife, the environment, and us.

“We are outraged at the Trump administration’s unlawful and irresponsible opening of National Wildlife Refuge lands to GMOs and neonicotinoids,”†said George Kimbrell, Legal Director for the Center for Food Safety.†”These are crucial wildlife sanctuaries, not to be sold to pad the bottom lines of pesticide companies. We are exploring all legal actions.”

Photo credit: Thinkstock

71 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y20 days ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y20 days ago

thanks

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John J
John J20 days ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J20 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Marie W
Marie W24 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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hELEN h
hELEN hEARFIELD7 months ago

shameful

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Fran F
Fran F7 months ago

Trump seems determined to destroy the world.

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Nicole H
Nicole Heindryckx7 months ago

@ Julie W : Thanks for your short, but sharp comment. Despite the sad side of this story, it made me laugh... And we need to keep laughing as well, even if the situation is not at all funny !!

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Nicole H
Nicole Heindryckx7 months ago

Well once again Fuehrer TRUMPF has decided something (did he do that alone, or how many gang members did he need to fix this ??) that is totally against the general trend for using pesticides. While everyone is wanting to use - in as far as possible - non toxic pesticides it is quite obvious which multinationals are taking advantage of this decision. You really must be totally retarded not to see through his decisions. All for this $$$ friends, even if that represents terrible consequences. Our bee population is already under great stress due to the presence of the other bees, who kill our honey bees by the millions. Is there anyone who has a solution for the pollination of all flowers, crops, fruits, etc.. in the future when the regular bees are no longer in sufficient numbers to take care of this job. Will we return to previous ages, when some very rare and delicate plants were pollinated by touching them with a feather. My God, that's a solution for all the immigrants to find a job... (sorry sarcasm again)
Really, the longer he is POTUS, the less I understand this man, except for one thing : HE IS NOT NORMAL.

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Angela K
Angela K7 months ago

Petition already signed & shared

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