We heard this Minnesota Public Radio story by Dan Gunderson when we were driving to our vegetable garden. Let's hope that America's judiciary remains independent of administrations and industry. Gunderson reports in Judge: EPA violated law in approving products dangerous to bees, butterflies:
A Minnesota beekeeper is claiming a partial victory in a federal lawsuit over the regulation of a common insecticide.
Last week, a federal judge in California ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency violated the federal Endangered Species Act when it approved dozens of neonicotinoid insecticide products.
Steve Ellis of central Minnesota is the lead plaintiff of suit, which claims the EPA approved products containing neonicotinoid insecticide without adequately considering harm to bees and endangered species. . . .
Read the rest at MPR. Back in 2013, Modern Farmer reported in Can a Lawsuit Save America’s Bees?:
On a warm April afternoon in Oakdale — a small farming town in the San Joaquin Valley of California — beekeepers Steve Ellis (pictured above, with his hives) and Jeff Anderson sit at a dining-room table built for 10 in Anderson’s rural home. Ellis and his bees are visiting from his home base in Minnesota so that the bees can pollinate California almond crops during the Spring, but business is not the only reason for his visit.
On the kitchen wall hangs a plaque in the shape of a bumblebee that reads “The Bee Attitudes.” The two men explain their take on beekeepers’ standard view of environmentalists.
“Most are kind of philosophically opposed to quote unquote ‘wacko environmental groups,’ says Ellis, a wiry man with gentle eyes who has been keeping bees commercially for 33 years, “because they’re going to be the downfall of the world.”
But now the two camps are unlikely partners in a David and Goliath battle. Ellis and a handful of other beekeepers from around the country are teaming up with some of the most powerful and sophisticated environmental groups in the U.S.
They’re plaintiffs in a lawsuit, Ellis v. Bradbury (read the complaint here), against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop the use of two pesticides that Ellis and other beekeepers believe are killing their bee colonies. The suit not only attempts to eliminate the use of neonicotinoid pesticides containing the ingredients clothianidin and thiamethoxam, which damage the central nervous system of insects, but to challenge the way the EPA approves pesticides. If they win, it could change the way pesticides hit the market. If they lose, Ellis and the others believe it could be the end of beekeeping as we know it.
They are far from alone in their concerns—the European Union voted in late April to temporarily ban some neonicotinoids, including those fingered in the suit, for two years because of their detrimental effect on honeybees. . . .
Will the judge's ruling stand? Stay tuned...
Photo: Minnesota beekeeper Steve Ellis. Via Earthjustice.
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