Success: Bee-Killing Pesticides Banned in Wildlife Refuges

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Target: Judith A. McHale, Chair of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Goal: Applaud organization for banning the use of harmful pesticides in wildlife refuges

By January 2016, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) plans to phase out the use of neonicotinoid insecticides (neonics) in wildlife refuges nationwide. This follows a recent decision on July 9, 2014 to ban neonics in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. A previous ForceChange petition called for an end to the use of these dangerous pesticides. In light of the growing problems associated with this harmful pesticide, this is an applaudable success.

Historically, The FWS has allowed farming on refuge lands for decades, but the use of neonics is a relatively new problem. Neonicotinoids currently account for about 40 percent of the global pesticide market, yet they have been linked to massive bee die-offs as well as a host of other damaging effects to pollinators, birds, mammals and even fish.

Thankfully, the FWS has finally concluded that it has become vital to protect the natural diversity of these refuge lands. Refuge managers must now exhaust all alternatives before allowing neonics to be used. Furthermore, the FWS also plans to prohibit the use of genetically modified seeds, which feed the wildlife. Although GMOs have not been linked directly to the pollinator die-offs, the widespread dominance of GMO crops has lead to the widespread use of pesticides.

While there are still important measures to take, applaud the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for attempting to phase out the use of harmful pesticides in order to ensure the future of the honeybees.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Judith A. McHale,

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages over 150 million acres of land, has allowed farming on refuge reserves for decades. In order to grow crops, farmers have become increasingly reliant on neonicotinoids (neonics), a class of widely used insecticides that currently account for about 40 percent of the global pesticide market.

Scientific research, however, has recently demonstrated the harmful effects of the pesticide on wildlife, particularly in association with honeybees and pollinators. This has become a nationwide concern since honeybees play a vital role in the agricultural and food systems of the U.S.

As such, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has rightfully decided to phase out the use of neonics by January 2016. Thank you for implementing the necessary measures to protect America’s pollinators in wildlife refuges nationwide.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Björn Appel via Wikimedia Commons

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