Broad Alliance Critiques EPA’s Announcement on Bee-Harming Pesticides, Urges Agency to go Further to Protect Pollinators
On April 2, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a moratorium on new bee- and bird- harming neonicotinoid pesticide products and uses. While supportive of the partial halt on new registrations, farm, beekeeper and environmental groups were disappointed that the action ignored the huge numbers of other bee-harming pesticides already on the market.
“We need EPA to protect bees and other pollinators from the neonicotinoids and other bee-harming insecticides that are alreadycovering the corn and soybean acres in our area, not just keep new products off the market,” said Joanna Voigt at Kansas Rural Center.
Over 125 farmer, food safety, beekeeper, faith and environmental groups sent a letter to the president last month urging a moratorium on all neonicotinoids and their chemical cousins, other systemic pesticides. Additionally, more than four million Americans signed petitions urging the Obama administration to take immediate action on bee-toxic pesticides.
Lowe’s Commits to Decisive Action to Protect Pollinators
Friends of the Earth, Domini Social Investments and Trillium Asset Management praised Lowe’s for making a commitment to eliminate neonicotinoid pesticides from its stores. After input from suppliers, NGOs, investors and other key stakeholders, the company announced it will phase out neonicotinoids (“neonics”) as suitable alternatives become available, redouble existing integrated pest management practices for suppliers and provide additional material educating customers about pollinator health.
“We commend Lowe’s for taking a leadership position on this critical issue,” said Adam Kanzer, Managing Director and Director of Corporate Engagement at Domini Social Investments. “Sales of neonic-containing products may be exacerbating a critical systemic risk – alarming declines in honeybees and wild pollinators that support our food systems. As investors and as human beings, we all depend upon pollinators. We believe Lowe’s actions will help protect an irreplaceable resource.” See http://www.foe.org/news/news-releases/2015-04-lowes-commits-to-protect-bees-and-pollinators for more information.
Northern Spotted Owl Continues to Decline – Endangered Listing Needed
The Northern Spotted Owl will be reviewed for endangered status under the Endangered Species Act. Scientific studies indicate Endangered status is likely warranted because the owl population is in rapid decline due to ongoing habitat loss and the Barred Owl’s incursion into Northwest forests. Long-term demography studies show that in 2013 populations in all eight study areas were in decline and well below historic averages for both total numbers and breeding success. Newly released 2014 studies show a continued overall population decline.
“American Bird Conservancy appreciates that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is taking this action to help reverse the Northern Spotted Owl’s spiral toward extinction,” said Steve Holmer, senior policy advisor for American Bird Conservancy.
OPB News reports the result could be an endangered species listing: http://www.opb.org/news/article/wildlife-officials-consider-endangered-listing-for-spotted-owl/
BLM Northwest Forest Plan Revision Moving Ahead
The BLM is moving towards releasing Western Oregon draft resource management plan revisions on April 24 and will be holding a series of public meetings during the 90 day comment period. A number of potential problems have been identified with the upcoming BLM drafts including not utilizing the most recent Northern Spotted Owl demographic data, not providing a regional conservation framework by working with the Forest Service, and an inadequate range of alternatives that do not assess or attempt to build upon the multiple benefits of the Northwest Forest Plan.
Groups Oppose Expedited Post-Fire Logging on Klamath National Forest
The Klamath National Forest is proposing a post-fire salvage logging timber sale called the Westside Fire Recovery Project. Logging is planned for 6,680 acres (ten square miles) of Late Successional Reserves established to protect Northern Spotted Owl habitat. The timber sale will impact approximately 70 Northern Spotted Owl nesting sites. Organizations are opposing the use of Alternative Arrangement for NEPA from the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the use if an emergency situation determination by the Forest Service because of proposed post-fire logging in reserves and Northern Spotted Owl Critical Habitat, and along roads that are closed or not usable by the public.
Planning for Diversity: A guide to National Forest planning to conserve America’s Wildlife
A Defenders of Wildlife guide on utilizing the new 2012 National Forest Planning Rule is available at http://www.defenders.org/publication/planning-diversity