by Lauren McCauley
June 15, 2016
To spread public
awareness about how bee colony collapse is threatening
the nation's food
supply - and the role that chemicals play in their demise -
a truck driven by
Minnesota beekeeper James Cook
is currently hauling
2.5 million dead bees across the country.
Bayer, Monsanto, and
Syngenta are effectively
"shaping new pollinator
'protection' plans nationwide
that do little to protect bees,
but a lot to protect industry
Despite the abundance of scientific studies documenting the rapid
and dangerous decline of pollinator populations, state and federal
lawmakers have yet to pass any meaningful protections for bees.
The reason, according to the findings of a new investigation, is
that pesticide giants such as Bayer,
Monsanto, and Syngenta have
deployed an aggressive lobbying campaign to dilute and suppress
attempts to regulate their multi-billion dollar industry - with
Published by environmental watchdog Friends of the Earth, the
Kill - How the Pesticide Industry is Clipping the Wings of Bee
Protection Efforts Across the U.S.)
"how the pesticide industry has
weakened and delayed pesticide reforms and is shaping new
pollinator 'protection' plans nationwide that do little to
protect bees, but a lot to protect industry profits."
The agrochemical industry has spent
hundreds of thousands of dollars on state and federal lobbying
efforts, which the report says have effectively pushed lawmakers to
"pollinator protection plans" that
"lack metrics to measure effectiveness, improvement, or failure"
and often "provide more protections for pesticides and pesticide
users than for bee keepers and bee colonies."
What's more, the ever-present "revolving
door" between the public and private sector has allowed the
pesticide industry to "infiltrate" regulatory agencies.
"In hundreds of documented cases,
employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the
Environmental Protection Agency have shuffled between regulatory
agencies and companies including Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto,"
the study notes.
The pesticide industry has peddled
influence in other ways, as well.
By cultivating strategic partnerships
with public agencies and academic groups, and by funding science and
education initiatives, Big Biotech supports research efforts that
sow doubt about the extent of their products' toxic impact.
"Pesticide companies are
successfully pulling the wool over the eyes of our policy
makers, which has resulted in a patchwork of initiatives by our
state and federal government to that do little to curb or
restrict pesticides," said Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food futures
campaigner with Friends of the Earth.
"Our government is giving more weight to the pesticide industry
than to protecting bees, beekeepers, our food supply and
environment," Finck-Haynes added.
"It is critical for policymakers to
stand up for the long-term health of our food system, not the
short-term profits of companies that manufacture a leading cause
of bee declines."
To spread public awareness about how bee
colony collapse is threatening the nation's food supply - and the
role that chemicals play in their demise - a truck driven by
Minnesota beekeeper James Cook is currently
hauling 2.5 million dead bees
across the country.
Keep Hives Alive tour, organized by Friends of the Earth and
other advocacy groups, will make stops in South Dakota, Minnesota,
Michigan, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina before reaching its final
destination in Washington D.C., for a rally outside the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency on June 22-23.
"It's far past time for the EPA to
take urgent action to halt the use of bee-killing pesticides,"
said Jeff Anderson, owner of Minnesota Honey Farms.
"We hope that this dramatic
presentation will raise awareness of this urgent problem."