Oklahoma Senator Inhofe Tells EPA to Stick to the Science on Neonicotinoid InsecticidesThu, 24 Mar 2016 09:25:37 CDT
Oklahoma U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe is telling the EPA to proceed with prudence as it moves forward with public hearings on whether to possibly ban certain insecticides known as "neonics"' that might be harming the bee populations in the U.S. He suggests there could be over-reaction by the agency to the calls of environmentalists.
In a letter to Jim Jones, assistant administrator of the Office of Pesticide Programs of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee expressed concern with a series of risk assessments being conducted by the EPA on the neonicotinoid insecticides.
"Indeed, the limited findings of your imidacloprid risk assessment have already prompted misleading and sensationalist headlines from the media and calls by well-funded environmental activist groups to outright ban neonicotinoid insecticides," wrote the Senator. "In fact, Mother Jones reported that an EPA spokesperson stated, 'The report card was so dire that the EPA 'could potentially take action' to 'restrict or limit the use' of the chemical by the end of the year."
He also said the Natural Resources Defense Council has flooded the comment document with a mass generated letter that urges the EPA to speed upits scheduled for registration review and cancel any uses of imidacloprid that pose high risks to bees and other pollinators.
"However, NRDC and others have been calling for a ban on neonicotinoids for years and seem to be most concerned with their desired policy outcome, instead of properly identifying the causes of and mitigating recent declines in bee populations," continued the Senator in his letter. "These calls do not heed a risk-based regulatory approach and I urge you to prudently evaluate the findings and regulatory options to determine what is fair to all stakeholders."
Neonics have been targeted by environmental activists as the cause of the decline of the nation's bee populations. The EPA released a preliminary risk assessment on imidacloprid on Jan. 4 and is also planning to hold three more preliminary risk assessments on the insecticides to be released for public comment in December 2016.
Several agricultural groups have asked to join the defense side of a lawsuit brought by environmentalists demanding EPA regulate seeds treated with neonicotinoids as pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which provides authority to EPA to regulate pesticides, fearing great harm to crop agriculture if EPA should be forced through the courts to act. Click here to read comments from the National Association of Wheat Growers and the American Soybean Association regarding this litigation.
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