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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NRDC is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for greenlighting the use of neonics without first considering their harm to endangered species.
Expert BlogDaniel Raichel
Proving that we’re all still learning about “the birds and the bees,” new research released late last week revealed that the popular class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids or “neonics” reduced live honey bee sperm counts by up to 39%…
Expert BlogKatie Umekubo
As we were about to celebrate the 100th anniversary of this landmark conservation law, the Trump administration decided to gut the MBTA by limiting its reach to the purposeful or intentional killing of birds.