Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Conyers: “Overwhelming Scientific Evidence Makes Clear - Congress Must Act to Save America’s Bees”

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) weighed in on the pollinator crisis resulting from the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, as his congressional staff attended a press conference unveiling of a new study demonstrating the damaging effects that these types of pesticides have on honey bee populations. This event comes on the heels of a new study - entitled “Gardeners Beware of 2014” - which found  bee-killing pesticides in 51% of “bee-friendly” plants from garden centers across the U.S. and Canada. Last July, Representative Conyers and Early Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced H.R. 2692, the ‘Saving America’s Pollinators Act,’ to immediately suspend the use of certain neonicotinoid pesticides until the government had made conclusive health and safety determinations. After the press conference in Detroit, Representative Conyers issued the following statement:

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“As more and more research continues to be published, the evidence is increasingly clear: neonicotinoid pesticides are damaging American pollinators and causing a precipitous drop in the number of honey bees. Worse still, neonicotinoid pesticides’ impact on honey bees and other pollinators have become a direct threat to our food system and overall agriculture industry. For these reasons, Representative Blumenaeur of Oregon and I introduced, H.R. 2692, the ‘Saving America’s Pollinators Act,’ directing the EPA Administrator to immediately suspend the registration of certain neonicotinoids until experts have determined that these insecticides will not cause adverse effects on pollinators. Rather than rely on industry talking points, my legislation will direct the EPA to evaluate peer-reviewed scientific evidence and complete a thorough field study,” said Conyers.

“It is deeply troubling that retail garden centers like Home Depot and Lowes continue the sale of neonicotinoid pesticides, seedlings and plants pre-treated with such pesticides as supposedly ‘bee-friendly’ products. This is an unfair and deceptive practice; many consumers are not made aware that the ‘bee-friendly’ products they purchase have been pre-treated with neonicotinoids, or that - as rigorous scientific reviews have continued to demonstrate - neonicotinoid pesticides are directly responsible for the alarming rate of honey bee decline and colony losses. I call on retailers to immediately remove the sale of neonicotinoids and any products pre-treated with such pesticides.

“Following much scientific evidence and activism, President Obama recently announced the creation of a Pollinator Health Task Force to conduct research on pollinator declines including the impact of pesticide exposure on bees and other insects. While I applaud the Obama Administration’s first steps, I urge my colleagues in Congress to take up the mantle and support the ‘Saving America’s Pollinators Act.’ Our nation’s fragile pollinators and food systems cannot wait any longer.”
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