In very unusual move, EPA reopens public comment period for neonicotinoids

The EPA is required to evaluate and determine if toxic chemicals should be re-registered  on a 15 year cycle and several of the heavily used neonicotinoids have come up for review: clothianidin, thiamethoxam, imidacloprid, dinotefuron and acetamiprid. Typically there is a 30 day comment period as a part of the review process, there was one in 2018 and a 30 day extension, two more in 2020,  which closed on May 4th.

In collaboration with leading scientists who have been intimately connected with the controversy over the neonicotinoid family as outspoken critics and casualties, the Pollinator Stewardship Council and the Ecdysis Foundation filed three excellent letters at the close of the most recent comment period.  These are powerful reflections on the neonics, collectively calling for a ban on all outdoor uses.  Click here to read the Ecdysis Foundation’s Letter to the EPA.  Here’s the Pollinator Stewardship Council’s Letter to the EPA dated April 24th, 2020. And a second letter to the EPA from the Pollinator Stewardship Council dated May 3rd.

“Neonicotinoids hurt farmers and society far more than they help us.” – Ecdysis Foundation

“We urge EPA to use this review process to impose a total ban on the use of neonics for all outdoor applications, including foliar, drench and seed treatments.” – Pollinator Stewardship Council

“In order to protect pollinators and agricultural sectors that rely on pollination services, US EPA must make a comprehensive science- based decision to end the current neonic uses.” – Pollinator Stewardship Council

In a very unusual move, 2 weeks after the close of what was to be the final comment period, the EPA granted another 30 day extension, supposedly at the request of “stakeholders” who wanted more time. As if 60 days in 2018 and another 60 days in 2020 open for comment were not enough.

My guess is that the poison industry was caught flat footed by the quality of the PSC letters and perhaps others like them. They thought re-registration would be a slam dunk by an EPA well under their control, but now they are nervous and want more time to strengthen their arguments. It will be interesting to see what the source is of the letters filed in the next 30 days.

It may already to late for the environment unfortunately. These neonics are toxic poisons with half lives of years. It will take decades for the environment to purge itself of these chemicals even if they are stopped today. The evidence is that as a consequence of their heavy and widespread use that most of the U.S. is poisoned at toxic levels, far above the EPA’s Threshold For Environmental Damage. Their effect is cumulative and irreversible, meaning that even the tiniest doses, over time, can result in death. To approve the re-registration of these poisons knowing what we know pushes the controversy into the realm of criminality – knowingly poisoning the earth and the people for profit.

Take the time to read carefully and absorb what is said in the 3 letters, and if you haven’t already done so you might consider submitting a letter of you own, if for no other reason than to balance what is likely to be an industry lobbying tsunami.

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