H. R. 2692
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
July 16, 2013
Mr. Conyers (for himself and Mr. Blumenauer) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Agriculture
To direct the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to take certain actions related to pesticides that may affect pollinators, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
America’s Pollinators Act of 2013.
Pollination services are a vital part of agricultural production, valued at over $125,000,000,000 globally and worth $20,000,000,000 to $30,000,000,000 in agricultural production annually in the United States.
One-third of food produced in North America depends on pollination by honey bees, including nearly 95 varieties of fruits such as almonds, avocados, cranberries, and apples.
Over the past several years, documented incidents of colony collapse disorder have been at a record high, with some beekeepers repeatedly losing 100 percent of their operations.
During the winter beginning in 2012 and ending in 2013, United States beekeepers, on average, lost 45.1 percent of the colonies they operate.
According to scientists of the Department of Agriculture, current estimates of the survivorship of honey bee colonies show they are too low to be able to meet the pollination demands of United States agricultural crops.
Scientists have linked the use of systemic neonicotinoid insecticides to the rapid decline of pollinators and to the deterioration of pollinator health.
Neonicotinoids cause sublethal effects including impaired foraging and feeding behavior, disorientation, weakened immunity, delayed larval development, and increased susceptibility to viruses, diseases, and parasites and numerous studies have also demonstrated acute, lethal effects from the application of neonicotinoid insecticides.
Recent science has demonstrated that a single corn kernel coated with a neonicotinoid is toxic enough to kill a songbird.
In June 2013, over 50,000 bumblebees were killed as a direct result of exposure to a neonicotinoid applied to Linden trees for cosmetic purposes.
In January 2013, the European Food Safety Authority determined that the most widely used neonicotinoids pose unacceptable hazards to bees, prompting the European Union to suspend their use on agricultural crops.
Urgent regulatory response for honey bee and pollinator protection
Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall suspend the registration of imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, dinotafuran, and any other members of the nitro group of neonicotinoid insecticides to the extent such insecticide is registered, conditionally or otherwise, under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act ( 7 U.S.C. 136 et seq. ) for use in seed treatment, soil application, or foliar treatment on bee attractive plants, trees, and cereals until the Administrator has made a determination that such insecticide will not cause unreasonable adverse effects on pollinators based on—
an evaluation of the published and peer-reviewed scientific evidence on whether the use or uses of such neonicotinoids cause unreasonable adverse effects on pollinators, including native bees, honey bees, birds, bats, and other species of beneficial insects; and
a completed field study that meets the criteria required by the Administrator and evaluates residues, including residue build-up after repeated annual application, chronic low-dose exposure, cumulative effects of multiple chemical exposures, and any other protocol determined to be necessary by the Administrator to protect managed and native pollinators.
Conditions on certain pesticides registrations
Notwithstanding section 3 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act ( 7 U.S.C. 136a ), for purposes of the protection of honey bees, other pollinators, and beneficial insects, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall not issue any new registrations, conditional or otherwise, for any seed treatment, soil application, and foliar treatment on bee attractive plants, trees, and cereals under such Act until the Administrator has made the determination described in subsection (a), based on an evaluation described in subsection (a)(1) and a completed field study described in subsection (a)(2), with respect to such insecticide.
Monitoring of native bees
The Secretary of the Interior, in coordination with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, shall, for purposes of protecting and ensuring the long-term viability of native bees and other pollinators of agricultural crops, horticultural plants, wild plants, and other plants—
regularly monitor the health and population status of native bees, including the status of native bees in agricultural and non-agricultural habitats and areas of ornamental plants, residential areas, and landscaped areas;
identify the scope and likely causes of unusual native bee mortality; and
beginning not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act and each year thereafter, submit to Congress, and make available to the public, a report on such health and population status.