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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported last week that in 2018 it issued so-called “emergency” approvals to spray sulfoxaflor—an insecticide the agency considers “very highly toxic” to bees—on more than 16 million acres of crops known to attract bees.
Of the 18 states where the approvals were granted for sorghum and cotton crops, 12 have been given the approvals for at least four consecutive years for the same “emergency.”
Last year the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General released a report finding that the agency’s practice of routinely granting “emergency” approval for pesticides across millions of acres does not effectively measure risks to human health or the environment.
“Spraying 16 million acres of bee-attractive crops with a bee-killing pesticide in a time of global insect decline is beyond the pale, even for the Trump administration,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The EPA is routinely misusing the ’emergency’ process to get sulfoxaflor approved because it’s too toxic to make it through normal pesticide reviews.”
Andrew Wheeler was just seated as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, approved by the majority Republican Senate. Since 2009 Wheeler had been a lobbyist at the law firm Faegre Baker Daniels’ energy and natural resources practice. Since 2009, he represented the coal producer Murray Energy, privately owned by Robert E. Murray, a supporter of President Trump. Murray Energy was Wheeler’s best-paying client, paying more than $300,000 during the period 2009-2017. Wheeler lobbied against the Obama administration’s climate regulations for power plants and also sought to persuade the Energy Department to subsidize coal plants. Wheeler set up a meeting between Murray and Energy Secretary Rick Perry in March 2017; at the meeting, Murray advocated for the rollback of environmental regulations and for protections for the coal industry. Wheeler has consistently continued the roll backs of protection for the environment started by Scott Pruitt, his predecessor. Under Wheeler the EPA will continue to be a sham agency, more bent on attacking the environment than protecting it.
". . . those who claim to know the Mind of God, who will tell you what God thinks and how He will judge and condemn others—those people are the greatest of all blasphemers." Aloysius Xingu Leng Pendergast
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