Zinke lifts ban on bee-killing neonics in wildlife refuges

If nowhere else, you’d think pollinators would be safe from pesticides in our national wildlife refuges—but not anymore. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, under Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke, has undone an Obama-era ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, or neonics, and genetically engineered crops in more than 50 wildlife refuges that allow farming. The GMO crops in question are bioengineered to resist insects and herbicides, and neonics are a particularly toxic class of chemicals contributing to declining bee populations. The FWS says that the crops are needed to provide adequate food for migratory birds (which are often the target of recreational hunters), but their strategy has some big holes: The neonics are really bad for the birds they're supposedly trying to protect, as well. The FWS says it will now make its decisions on a case-by-case basis for each of the remaining refuges—but the Trump administration’s priorities are pretty clear.

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