- Jan SchakowskyRepresentative
Save the Bees
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Bees are an essential part to agriculture, responsible for the pollination of 71 out of 100 of the crops that make up 90% of the world's food supply. They are being killed by neonicotinoids in pesticides. If we don't put a stop to this, all of the bees will eventually be killed. We would like to propose a bill that will do the following.
- Neonicotinoids in any capacity are hereby banned in pesticide production and use.
- Farmers continuing neonicotinoid use will be punished with loss of farm subsidies for fifteen years (five half-lives of standard neonicotinoids).
- This legislation will be screened by the EPA and enforced by the USDA.
- All laws in conflict with this legislation are hereby declared null and void.
We are two juniors from John Hersey High School who are concerned with the effects of pesticides on bees. The use of neonicotinoids in pesticides is killing the bee population. Bees are responsible for the pollination of 71 out of 100 of the crops that make up 90% of the world's food supply. If all the bees die, the US will lose three billion dollars annually. The EPA is currently reviewing the safety of neonicotinoids in pesticides, but in the meantime, bees continue to be killed. There is enough scientific research that points to neonicotinoids being the cause of this. According to The North American Pesticide Action Network, on July 19th, 2013, “50,00 bees were reported to have dropped dead in an Oregon parking lot from exposure to neonicotinoids.”
Some bills have already been proposed to Congress, such as the Saving America’s Pollinators Act, to suspend the use of neonicotinoids until further research has been done. However, we believe that all the research is there to prove that these pesticides are deadly to bees. By 2018, Maryland will be the first state to ban neonicotinoids. They have identified the research that suggests neonicotinoids are highly toxic to the necessary pollinators. Neonicotinoids are common among pesticides used in the U.S.. As reported by MPR News on February 10th, 2015, “Neonicotinoids are widely used on more than 140 crops (including significant use on corn) in the U.S.”. In 2013, the European Food Safety Authority banned the use of neonicotinoids in the EU as they were too toxic to bees. We would like to propose a bill with a similar purpose. The proposed bill would put a ban on neonicotinoids in any pesticide production and use. It would also put a punishment of loss of subsidies on farmers who continue to use pesticides containing neonicotinoids. Getting rid of neonicotinoids will not be the end of pesticides.
There are plenty alternatives available to farmers that do not harm bees. To cite the National Pesticides Information Center, October 3rd, 2014, “IPM systems have been applied to all nations in the European Union”. After the E.U. passed their legislation to temporarily ban neonicotinoids, they worked on implementing Integrated Pest Management systems, or IPM. IPM systems are a cost effective alternative to neonicotinoids and more importantly don’t show any immediate risk to the bee population. By implementing IPM systems, the bee population will be able to flourish. IPM’s make an attempt to minimize the use of pesticides by using strategies like crop rotation, timing, and planting in strategic areas. The last part of an IPM system is the use of non harmful, alternative pesticides. This greatly reduces the risk for pollinators because not only are less pesticides used, the ones used are nontoxic. By posing no threat to bees, their colonies will be able to slowly revive from the damage done by neonicotinoids.
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