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"It's About Time": Canada Celebrated for Banning Bee-Killing Neonics While US Backslides

"Unfortunately, it looks like the EPA is trying to be the last agency on Earth to recognize that these pesticides should be banned."

The Canadian government on Wednesday unveiled plans to phase out pesticides that scientists have found are harmful to bees. (Photo: Danny Perez Photography/flickr/cc)

While the Trump administration recently moved to roll back a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides in U.S. wildlife refuges, conservationists are celebrating Canada "for recognizing the overwhelming body of scientific evidence on neonics and phasing out these dangerous pesticides."

"This is a really huge decision."
—John Bennett, Friends of the Earth Canada

"These bee-killing pesticides pose a serious threat to public health, the environment, and our entire food system," declared Tiffany Finck-Haynes, a senior food futures campaigner for Friends of the Earth U.S., applauding the Canadian government's new policy.

Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency on Wednesday unveiled plans to phase out two of the three main neonics currently allowed in the country. As The Canadian Press noted, "The agency has already announced plans to phase out the third pesticide in all outdoor uses, meaning it can't be sprayed or used to pre-treat seeds before planting."

"This is a really huge decision," said John Bennett, a senior policy adviser at Friends of the Earth Canada.

Jim Coneybeare, president of the Ontario Beekeepers Association and a beekeeper in southwestern Ontario, told The Canadian Press that his beehives in areas exposed to neonics experience far greater losses, and he doesn't understand why it will take so long to implement the new policy.

In a series of tweets, Faisal Moola, a scientist and professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario, also pointed out that the implementation period seemed unnecessarily lengthy, especially considering more urgent actions previousy adopted by France and the European Union (EU).

European regulators approved a "groundbreaking" and "historic" ban in April—a move that, as Common Dreams reported, was heralded as "a huge win for pollinators, people, and the planet" as well as "science-based regulation of pesticides."

Although scientists and activists have urged the Trump administration to follow suit, disgraced former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt positioned himself as a lackey of the chemical industry, and his replacement, former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, isn't expected to be much better.

"Unfortunately, it looks like the EPA is trying to be the last agency on Earth to recognize that these pesticides should be banned," concluded Finck-Haynes, who also blamed "leading food retailers" that "continue to disregard science."

"In the U.S., both the EPA and corporations have failed to take appropriate action," she said.

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