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Congressman John Conyers

Representing the 13th District of Michigan

CONYERS & BLUMENAUER INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO PROTECT POLLINATORS & AMERICA'S FOOD SYSTEM

June 26, 2017
Press Release

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) along with 24 other Members of Congress introduced the “Saving America’s Pollinators Act of 2017.” The legislation requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to take swift action to prevent mass bee die-offs and protect the health of honey bees and other critical pollinators by suspending the use of certain bee-toxic insecticides, known as neonicotinoids. It also requires the Secretary of the Interior, in coordination with the Administrator of the EPA, to monitor the health of native bee populations and to identify and publicly report the likely causes of bee kills.

Recent research provides evidence of a link between neonicotinoids and poor bee health. Bee populations have declined steadily since 2006, and the continued decline will have serious implications to our food supply.

Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich) said, “We must act now to preserve America’s food system. One of every three bites of food we eat is from a crop pollinated by honey bees. We depend on them as key suppliers to our food and crop selection. Unfortunately, the current administration is looking to reduce the funding to programs that protect our nation’s pollinators. As a result of the massive, widespread decline of honey bee populations throughout the country, our nation’s crops such as apples, soybeans, and sugar beets will soon disappear. The ‘Saving America’s Pollinators Act’ will address this threat to honey bee populations by suspending the use of certain neonicotinoids and by requiring the EPA to conduct a full review of the scientific evidence before allowing the entry of other neonicotinoids into the market.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) said, “Bees and other pollinators play a critical role in our food supply. With their populations declining at an alarming rate, we need to take a step back and resolve the questions surrounding the safe use of these pesticides. The long-term viability of our farms and food system depends on it.”

With the introduction of the Saving America’s Pollinators Act, Congress will follow the example states like Maryland, Connecticut, and Minnesota and local communities like Eugene, OR; Spokane, WA; and Seattle, WA that have already adopted measures to protect pollinators from neonicotinoids. The federal government has also taken action to discontinue the use of neonicotinoids on national wildlife refuge system lands.

This bill is supported by: American Bird Conservancy, Avaaz, Audubon Society of New Hampshire, Bat World Sanctuary, Inc., Beyond Pesticides, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Environmental Health, Center for Food Safety, Central Maryland Beekeepers Association, Earthjustice, Ecological Farming Association, Environment America, Equal Exchange, Fair World Project, Family Farm Defenders, Friends of the Earth, Food Democracy Now!, Food and Water Watch, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, National Co+op Grocers, National Organic Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council, Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut, Northeast Organic Farming Association - Interstate Council, Northeast Organic Farming Association – Massachusetts, Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey, Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Maryland Pesticide Education Network, Midwest Organic Sustainable Education Service, Organic Consumers Association, Organic Farmers' Agency for Relationship Marketing, Inc., Organization for Bat Conservation, Oregon Tilth, People and Pollinators Action Network, Pesticide Action Network North America, Pollinate Minnesota, Sierra Club, Regeneration International, United Natural Foods Inc., The Cornucopia Institute, Toxics Action Center, Toxic Free North Carolina, and International Association for Human Values.

Full text of the bill is available here.

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