What you need to know.

Beekeepers are suing the Trump administration over its decision to allow the use of an insecticide linked to the deaths of entire honeybee colonies. The lawsuit accuses the EPA of “making illegal” the approval of sulfoxaflor, which is touted as “the next generation of neonicotinoids” by the pesticide’s manufacturer, Monsanto, and its parent company, Bayer AG. Sources: 2, 9

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lifted restrictions on sulfoxaflor in July, authorizing a variety of new uses for the chemical and allowing farmers to resume widespread use of the pesticide despite objections from beekeepers, citing private studies by the chemical industry showing that the product causes little harm to bees and wildlife. Friday’s EPA announcement, which came after the agricultural industry accused authorities of excessively favoring honeybees, makes sulphur oxafrol the latest insect and weed killer approved by the Trump administration despite complaints of environmental and human harm. Sources: 2, 3

The pesticide is produced by DowDupont, a spin-off that emerged last month from a merger and restructuring of DowDupont. Dismayed by the decision, honeybee-keeping organizations have again petitioned the Ninth Circuit to block the registration of sulfoxaflor. Sources: 6, 10

In a statement after its announcement in July, the EPA said: “This pesticide is an important component in preventing the spread of diseases such as dengue, diphtheria and yellow fever. Today, we are suing the Trump administration for approving a neonicotinoid that kills bees and other genetically modified crops. Throughout the history of agriculture, we have forgotten the constant scaremongering that pesticides have a negative impact on the health of bees and the food we grow. Sources: 0, 10

The Trump administration’s decision opens the door to increased use of pesticides without considering damage to some of the country’s most endangered species, as required by law. Beekeepers are suing the Trump administration over its decision to allow the use of an insecticide linked to the deaths of entire honeybee colonies. The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, challenges the EPA’s approval of a new pesticide for use in honeybees, reversing a 2014 commitment to phase out the practice. Sources: 0, 2

When honeybees return to their hives with pollen and sulfoxaflor-contaminated nectar, the effects on entire populations can be catastrophic. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lifted all restrictions on sulphur oxoxoxin in July and has since approved a variety of new uses for the chemical. Sources: 2, 8

The 2014 decision, which was reversed by the Trump administration, was the culmination of a decade-long campaign, including several lawsuits that successfully challenged the cultivation of genetically modified crops in the refuge. The letter states that Skipwith “puts the interests of the pesticide industry above threatened wildlife,” including the adoption of the decision contested in today’s action. Sources: 0, 8

The lawsuit was filed by the National Wildlife Federation, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and other groups. Sources: 0

The appeals court ordered sulfoxaflor to be withdrawn from the market, but in July the agency announced it would lift existing restrictions and allow the use of the herbicide on the U.S. market for the first time in more than a decade. Manufactured by Dow AgroSciences (now Corteva agriscience), sulfur oxaflores have been reintroduced by the EPA in recent years to minimize their exposure to pollinators by limiting their use in spraying plants that are attractive to bees. Sources: 10

In 2015, a federal appeals court ordered the EPA to withdraw its approval of sulfoxaflor, ruling in a lawsuit filed by U.S. beekeepers’ associations that not enough was known about what it had done to bees. But on Friday, the American Beekeepers Association, a trade group for beekeepers, and the Center for Biological Diversity said new data released by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) showed that the use of the herbicide to control pests could cause serious health problems for bees and other insects. Sources: 6

Groups concerned about beekeepers are suing the Environmental Protection Agency over its decision to expand the use of a pesticide known to harm bees and other pollinators. Beekeepers “associations, which successfully sued against sulfoxaflor for more than a decade under President George W. Bush, said EPA limits were insufficient to protect bees, butterflies, moths, birds, or other beneficial beetles that are declining in numbers. Dunn said banning the weed killer on nuts – plants that attract pollinators – would limit harm to bees. Sources: 1, 5, 7

But when honeybees return to their hives with pollen and sulfoxaflor-contaminated nectar, the effects on entire populations can be catastrophic. Pollinators such as bees are under threat and the steady decline in bee colonies is a cause for concern. Bees help pollinate the plants we eat, including almonds, apples, avocados and grapes, according to the American Beekeepers’ Association. Sources: 4, 8

Michele Colopy of the Pollinator Stewardship Council said it was inappropriate for the EPA to rely solely on industry studies to justify getting sulfoxaflor back into agricultural fields. The chemical can kill adult bees at low doses and affect their ability to reproduce, fight disease and survive the winter if returned to hives. Mr. Loarie, who filed the lawsuit in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, said honeybees and other pollinators are dying in droves from the insecticide oxafrolor, and that the Trump administration lifted the restrictions just to please the chemical industry. Sources: 8

Cited Sources