One of the problems with policy positions is that, well, sometimes the knowledge that you need to figure out what the heck is really going on is kind of obscure. Case in point: a lawsuit going on right now involving the EPA over a particular kind of pesticide, and its effect on bees (which recently had the equivalent of a deadly pandemic). Cue the New York Times:
Last year, researchers identified a virus as a major cause of the die-off; the latest suspect is a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, which are used to protect common agricultural seeds, including corn. The insecticides are systemic, which means they persist throughout the life of the plant. Scientists have demonstrated that exposure to these chemicals damages bees’ brain function, including their ability to home in on the hive.
In mid-March, environmental groups and beekeepers sued the Environmental Protection Agency to persuade it to withdraw its approval of two of the most widely used neonicotinoids. The manufacturers of these chemicals — notably Syngenta and Bayer CropScience — have claimed again and again that they are safe. And it is true that bees face other stresses. Even so, beekeepers managed to keep their hives relatively healthy before the increased use of neonicotinoids began in 2005.
Note that the NYT didn’t actually say that the virus was caused by neonicotinoids (which is good, because it’s not*): but they are kind of implying it.
Continue reading The War On Bees?