The US Appeals Court has ruled that federal regulators should never have approved an insecticide that is harmful to pollinators, like bees. In this unprecedented ruling, it was found that the EPA used flawed and limited data. This heralds a changing tide which will finally hold the biotech industry and industrial agriculture accountable for the mass die-offs of our pollinators.
The insecticide in question is sulfoxaflor, marketed under the brand names Transform and Closer. Farmers will have to immediately stop using it, unless and until the Environmental Protection Agency obtains more evidence regarding its effects on honeybees. Only then will the EPA be allowed to decide if it can re-approve the chemical for use on crops.
Considering that bee colonies have been dying off at alarming rates, the determination is an important one. “It’s a complete victory for the beekeepers we represent,” said Greg Loarie, an attorney representing several commercial beekeeping groups. “The EPA has not been very vigilant.”
Though some blame mites or viruses for the bee population reduction, many studies have linked bee deaths to the use of pesticides like neonicotinoids, an entire class of chemicals, and glyphosate, among other industrial agricultural products. Activists and scientists around the world have been urging regulators for years now to stop or limit their use until the pollinators can repopulate, thus ensuring our food supply is protected in future years.