Skip to main content

Common Dreams. Journalism funded by people, not corporations.

There has never been—and never will be—an advertisement on our site except for this one: without readers like you supporting our work, we wouldn't exist.

No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news and opinion 365 days a year that is freely available to all and funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

Our mission is clear. Our model is simple. If you can, please support our Fall Campaign today.

Support Our Work -- No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. Please support our Fall Campaign today.

For Immediate Release


Paul Towers, (916) 216-1082,

Lori Ann Burd, (971) 717-6405,

Larissa Walker, (202) 547-9359,

Press Release

125+ Groups Call on President Obama to Protect Bees, Pollinators From Pesticides

Letter Comes Ahead of Pending Report From White House Pollinator Task Force

More than 125 conservation, beekeeping, food safety, religious, ethnic and farming advocacy groups today urged President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency to take swift and meaningful action to protect honey bees and other pollinators from toxic pesticides.

“It’s time to stop pesticides from killing our bees,” said Lori Ann Burd, Environmental Health director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “If bees and other pollinators are going to have a real future in this country, President Obama needs to take concrete steps to protect them from these toxic substances.”

The letter urges the president to take action against a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, systemic poisons that are devastating bee populations. They are also threatening the nation's food supply, since one-third of the food consumed in the United States is pollinated by bees.

Among other things the letter calls for:

  • expedited review of the registration process for neonicotinoids;
  • strengthening of risk-assessment requirements;
  • closure of loopholes that allow dangerous pesticides to be approved with inadequate review;
  • improvements in the oversight of neonicotinoid use in seed coating;
  • upgrades to EPA’s bee- and bird-killing incident reporting system; and
  • EPA to comply with the Endangered Species Act by ensuring that these toxic pesticides are not killing our nation’s most imperiled species.

Neonicotinoids are widely used in U.S. agriculture and are particularly harmful because they are systemic — they poison entire plants, including the nectar and pollen — and persistent, lasting months or even years in the plant, soil and waterways.

“Bee populations across the country are declining at an alarming rate,” said Mark Emrich, beekeeper and president of the Washington State Beekeepers Association, a signatory to the letter. “Bees and beekeepers can’t be held responsible for the problems with pesticides. We need protections that ensure the continued health of our food system and agricultural economy; it's time for the president and his task force to step up."

Acute exposure to neonicotinoids can cause massive bee die-offs, such as the incident in which 50,000 bumblebees died in an Oregon parking lot in 2013. Even at low exposures, neonicotinoids impair bee health by affecting cognitive functions that make it possible for bees to forage, communicate and find their way back to their hives.

“Humans are called by God in Genesis 2 to care for and keep God's creation. We cannot do that task without the help of bees and other pollinators which help plants reproduce. Many of our churches raise gardens to help feed the poor. Our churches overseas teach farmers sustainable agriculture techniques so they can feed themselves and care for the land. Without bees, neither gardens nor sustainable agriculture are possible,” said Rev. Pat Watkins, executive director of United Methodist Caretakers of God’s Creation.

“We need bold action and we need it now,” said Larissa Walker, Pollinator Campaign director at the Center for Food Safety. “As a co-chair of the White House Pollinator Task Force, it is unacceptable for the EPA to continue dragging its feet on this issue. The agency’s plans to merely update pesticide labels and encourage states to adopt their own pollinator protection plans are not nearly enough.”

“The upcoming actions coming from the White House and our government agencies must be bold and effective — bees and other pollinators have been increasingly exposed to these toxic pesticides for too long already,” said Paul Towers of the Pesticide Action Network North America. “We need action now to stop the harms of bee-killing pesticides.”


PANNA (Pesticide Action Network North America) works to replace pesticide use with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives. As one of five autonomous PAN Regional Centers worldwide, we link local and international consumer, labor, health, environment and agriculture groups into an international citizens' action network. This network challenges the global proliferation of pesticides, defends basic rights to health and environmental quality, and works to ensure the transition to a just and viable society.

House Progressives: 'When We Said These Two Bills Go Together, We Meant It'

"Moving the infrastructure bill forward without the popular Build Back Better Act risks leaving behind working people, families, and our communities."

Andrea Germanos ·

As US Makes Case for Extradition, Global Demand for Rises Assange's Immediate Freedom

"Virtually no one responsible for alleged U.S. war crimes committed in the course of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars has been held accountable... and yet a publisher who exposed such crimes is potentially facing a lifetime in jail."

Julia Conley ·

Wyden's New Billionaires Income Tax Plan Applauded as Step Toward Justice

"For too long, families have been denied basic supports... while billionaires evade taxes on obscene amounts of wealth. This dynamic is economically dangerous and morally unsustainable."

Jessica Corbett ·

'Tax Them All': Warren, Wyden Lead Push for Minimum Corporate Tax in Build Back Better Act

"Giant corporations have been exploiting tax loopholes for too long, and it's about time they pay their fair share to help run this country, just like everyone else," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Julia Conley ·

Brazil Senate Panel Backs Indictment of Bolsonaro for 'Terrifying' Covid-19 Crimes

"It is evident that the president of the republic is the main culprit for most of the more than 600,000 deaths."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo