Representatives Conyers and Blumenauer Introduce Legislation Protecting Pollinators and America’s Food System
(WASHINGTON) – Today, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Representative Earl Bluemenauer (D-OR) introduced the “Saving America’s Pollinators Act of 2013,” which requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to suspend the use of certain insecticide, known as neonicotinoids, to prevent future mass die-offs of honey bees. Following the introduction of the legislation, Reps. Conyers and Blumenauer issued the following statement :
Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich): “One of every three bites of food we eat is from a crop pollinated by honey bees. These crops include apples, avocados, cranberries, cherries, broccoli, peaches, carrots, grapes, soybeans, sugar beets and onions. Unfortunately, unless swift action is taken, these crops, and numerous others, will soon disappear due to the dramatic decline of honey bee populations throughout the country.
“For over a decade now, honey bees have been suffering rapid population losses as a result of a phenomenon known as ‘colony collapse disorder.’ Another decade of these mass die-offs will severely threaten our agricultural economy and food supply. Scientists have reported that common symptoms of this decline are attributed to the use of a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids. The ‘Saving America’s Pollinators Act’ will address this threat to honey bee populations by suspending the use of certain neonicotinoids and by requiring the EPA to conduct a full review of the scientific evidence before allowing the entry of other neonicotinoids into the market.”
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.): “Pollinators are not only vital to a sustainable environment, but key to a stable food supply. When incidents like the alarming mass bee die-off of more than 50,000 bumblebees that happened recently in Wilsonville, Oregon occur, it is imperative that we take a step back to make sure we understand all the factors involved and move swiftly to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future.”
The Saving America’s Pollinators Act of 2013 will direct the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to suspend the registration of certain neonicotinoids – known as imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, dinotafuran – and any other members of the nitro group of neonicotinoid insecticides until the Administrator has made a determination that such insecticides will not cause unreasonable adverse effects on pollinators based on an evaluation of peer-review scientific evidence and a completed field study. The bill will also require the Secretary of the Interior, in coordination with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, to regularly monitor the health and population status of native bees and identify the scope and likely causes of unusual native bee mortality.
The Saving America’s Pollinators Act of 2013 has been endorsed by the American Bird Conservancy, Beyond Pesticides, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Environmental Health, the Center for Food Safety, Earthjustice, Equal Exchange, Family Farm Defenders, Friends of the Earth, Food Democracy Now!, Food and Water Watch, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, the National Cooperative Grocers Association, the Organic Consumers Association, Pesticide Action Network North America, the Sierra Club, and the Xerces Society.