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EPA Stung With Lawsuit Over Potentially Bee-Killing Pesticides

Michael Myers
Creative Commons/Flickr

A coalition of beekeepers and environmental groups says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency isn’t doing enough to protect the nation’s declining bee population from pesticides.

The group has filed a lawsuit against the EPA.

The coalition, which includes the Pesticide Action Network, claims that the EPA has allowed pesticides toxic to bees to remain in dozens of widely used agricultural products for years.

Research says a combination of factors is responsible for the disappearance of honeybees, including pesticides and bacterial infections. U.S. beekeepers have been losing about a third of their bees annually, with many reporting losses of 40 - 50 percent in 2012.

Tom Theobald owns Niwot Honey Farms. He’s been a beekeeper in Boulder County for almost 40 years, and is a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

"It’s been devastating. I'm practically out of business," he tells Colorado News Connection. "My honey crop this past year was less than 10 percent of what would have been considered a normal honey crop just a few years ago."

Theobald points out that honeybee health is often an indicator of the overall health of the nation’s ecosystem. A spokesman for the coalition says they hope the lawsuit forces the EPA to review pesticides and their effects on bees more rigorously.

The EPA has not commented on the suit, which was filed last week in the Northern District Court of California. The coalition filing the suit is represented by attorneys for the nonprofit advocacy group Center for Food Safety based in Washington, D.C.

As the host of KUNC’s new program and podcast In the NoCo, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. Northern Colorado is such a diverse and growing region, brimming with history, culture, music, education, civic engagement, and amazing outdoor recreation. I love finding the stories and voices that reflect what makes NoCo such an extraordinary place to live.
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