Archives – December, 2014

Guided by science

From: Leader-Post

By Lyle Stewart, Stewart is Saskatchewan’s minister of agriculture.

I write regarding the Dec. 8 letter, “Save our bees”. Saskatchewan has a successful honey bee industry with about 100,000 colonies of bees that produce high quality honey and play a valuable role in the pollination of crops.

As was noted, Saskatchewan does not currently plan to follow Ontario in implementing restrictions on neonicotinoid pesticides. The government respects Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency’s (PMRA) scientific system to evaluate, register and monitor pest control products and sees PMRA’s continuing evaluation of neonicotinoid insecticides as important. Decisions must be based on sound science.

Leave a Comment December 31, 2014

EPA Reopens Docket on the Benefits of Neonics for Soybeans

EPA is again accepting comments on its study, Benefits of Neonicotinoid Seed Treatment to Soybean Production. EPA’ Federal Register notice states,

In response to requests, the EPA is reopening the public comment period of EPA’s analysis of Benefits of Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments to Soybean Production. This document reopens the comment period for 30 days to January 23, 2015.

CRE’s Data Quality Alert to EPA on their study, Data Obfuscation Biases EPA’s Neonicotinoid-Soybean Study Against Farmers, is available here.

 

Leave a Comment December 29, 2014

Bee experts shred ‘Harvard’ neonics-Colony Collapse Disorder study, upbraid journalists for ‘activist science’

From: Genetic Literacy Project

Chensheng Lu was in his element last month, delivering an impassioned speech before a green group at Harvard Law School. The School of Public Health professor was lecturing on his favorite topic–his only subject these days, as it has become his obsession: why he believes bees around the world are in crisis.

***

Behind the headlines

Although public opinion has coalesced around the belief that the bee death mystery is settled, the vast majority of scientists who study bees for a living disagree–vehemently.

Read Complete Article

Leave a Comment December 26, 2014

CRE Files a Data Quality Alert

CRE has filed a  Data Quality Alert as a precursor to filing a Data Quality Act petition.  A Data Quality Alert is a mechanism for informing an agency of the deficiencies in a report which provides a basis for filing a Data Quality petition.

CRE has taken this action in response to the following report issued by EPA:

 Environmental Protection Agency, “Benefits of Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments to Soybean Production,” (“Soybean Report”) October 15, 2014.

The aforementioned report indicts the entire FIFRA based  regulatory process and if left unchallenged will undermine science based regulation of pesticides.

In particular CRE concludes that:

Leave a Comment December 21, 2014

Should the Agricultural Use of Neonicotinoids Be Banned?

From: American Bee Journal

by Kathy Keatley Garvey, UC-Davis Dept. of Entomology and Nematology

A team of entomology graduate students from the University of California, Davis, successfully argued at the Entomological Society of America’s recent student debates that a ban on the insecticides in agriculture “will not improve pollinator health or restore populations, based on current science. Neonicotinoids are important for control of many significant agricultural and veterinary pests. Part of the solution is to develop better regulations that will protect the health of pollinators and retain the use of an important IPM tool.”

Read Complete Article

Leave a Comment December 19, 2014

Beegate 3: Conflicts of interest dog European IUCN bee panel as nenonic ban devastates crops

From: Genetic Literacy Project

David Zaruk is an environmental-health risk policy analyst based in Belgium specializing in the role of science in policy and societal issues. He blogs under the pseudonym: The Risk-Monger. Over the past two weeks, Zaruk posted two stories based on a leaked internal document from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)which showed how, in 2010, certain scientists with confirmed conflicts of interest launched a strategy to manipulate public opinion and influence the European Union to ban neonicotionids (neonics), claiming that bees faced mortal danger. 

Part INeonics ban tied to corrupted bee research by scientists at EU’s ethically-challenged IUCN?

Leave a Comment December 17, 2014

FIRST PERSON: Euro knee-jerk reaction could make both wildlife and farmers the losers

From: Lincolnshire Echo

For any business to remain successful one of its main aims must be to produce more at less cost and agriculture is no exception.

Advances in technology must be embraced whether it is precision farming using GPS technology, better varieties of crops or indeed, for the non-organic farmers, improved solutions to weed, pest and disease control.

UK farmers growing oilseed rape in the 1990s saw the arrival of neonicotinoid chemistry in the form of a seed treatment.

Leave a Comment December 15, 2014

Why Are Bees Disappearing?

From: Huff Post/Green

What’s the deal with the Bees?: originally appeared on Quora:
The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer.
Learn from experts and access insider knowledge.

Answer by Matan Shelomi, Entomology, Biology, Evolution

I [and pretty much all entomologists on earth] have been getting a lot of questions about the honey bees. “Are they in trouble?” “Why are they disappearing?” “How can I help?” Questions are fine, but what annoys me is when I get answers. “It’s obviously GMO’s!” “We must ban neonicotinoids!” “How do we stop the corporations that are killing bees?” Ugh. The problem is that journalism requires sensational issues and simple stories, and most people want to find a single answer for each problem. Biology doesn’t work that way, however, and the truth cannot be boiled down into a single headline.

Leave a Comment December 12, 2014

Ontario grain farmers group boycotts public meetings on neonicotinoids

From: Sun

HANK DANISZEWSKI | QMI AGENCY

LONDON, Ont. — There wasn’t much buzz at a public meeting organized by the Ontario government about the crackdown on a pesticide blamed for the mass die-off of bees.

The Grain Farmers of Ontario, a key player in the issue, is boycotting the meetings, saying a public forum does not provide an opportunity “for professional and reasonable discussion on this complex issue.”

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“This (crackdown on neonicotinoids) will cost Ontario farmers $630 million a year … the research at this point is inconclusive,” said Barrett, the Tory agriculture critic and MPP for Haldimand-Norfolk.

Leave a Comment December 10, 2014

BeeGate: Science Scandal Or Smear Campaign?

Editor’s Note: For an early discussion of this issue from a Bee Health Decline reader, please see here.

From: Forbes

A leaked memo has sparked a tense debate about the impartiality of the science behind European restrictions on neonicotinoid pesticides, widely blamed for killing honeybees. www.tinyurl.com/prroxt8

The June 2010 document was first revealed by a blogger on Tuesday then reported in yesterday’s Times under the headline: “Scientists accused of plotting to get pesticides banned”.

It appears to suggest that the researchers had already made up their minds before seeking evidence to support their opinions, and wanted to publish papers in respected journals in order to pressure governments to act.

Leave a Comment December 8, 2014

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