Dear Administrator McCarthy,
Honey bees, native bees and other pollinators are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat. Many fruits and vegetables, including apples, blueberries, strawberries, carrots and broccoli, as well as almonds and coffee, rely on bees. These beneficial insects are critical in maintaining our diverse food supply.
U.S. beekeepers have been consistently losing 40-100 percent of their hives. Widespread use of a new class of toxic pesticides, neonicotinoids, is a significant contributing factor. In addition to killing bees outright, research has shown that even low levels of these dangerous pesticides impair bees' ability to learn, to find their way back to the hive, to collect food, to produce new queens, and to mount an effective immune response.
Already, 15 countries have imposed a two-year restriction on the use of several of these chemicals. However, the EPA continues to ignore scientists -- even those employed by the EPA -- and has delayed action until 2018.
We request an immediate moratorium on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides.
Bees can't wait five more years – they are dying now. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has the power and responsibility to protect our pollinators. Our nation's food system depends on it.