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It’s time for President Obama to protect bees from toxic pesticides before it’s too late

In a June 2014 Presidential memorandum, President Obama outlined a new strategy to protect pollinators that emphasized the need for public education, additional research, and habitat expansion. While these are all important in the protection of pollinators, there isn’t much urgency or clarity on how the task force will address one of the primary threats to bees and other pollinators: exposure to highly toxic, systemic, and persistent pesticides.

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Dear President Obama,

As your administration recognized in its June 20, 2014 memorandum, honey bees and other pollinators play a critical role in our agricultural economy, contributing $24 billion annually, and help to maintain a healthy ecosystem. Unfortunately, they are also continuing to suffer immeasurable losses.

Bees are facing many challenges, including habitat loss and pathogens, and pesticide exposure is of particular concern. A growing body of evidence, including dozens of peer-reviewed independent scientific studies, indicates that exposure to systemic insecticides, like neonicotinoids, are directly harming pollinators and causing poor bee health and severe population declines.

This problem is urgent. Beekeepers are still suffering record-high losses, and many native bee species are also suffering declines. EPA plans to complete its review of these insecticides in several years – this is not an acceptable timetable for beekeepers in crisis today.

As the inter-agency Pollinator Health Task Force finalizes strategies to best safeguard bee populations, we urge you to ensure pesticides, especially neonicotinoids and other systemic insecticides, are taken into account and decisively addressed. They are key part of the problem and need to be tackled head on.

The White House has the power and responsibility to protect pollinators. Our nation’s food system depends on it.

The following groups are calling on President Obama to take swift and meaningful action to protect pollinators from the threat of toxic pesticides:

Abanitu Organics, Roxboro, NC

AFGE Local 3354, St. Louis, Missouri

Alabama State Association of Cooperatives, Forkland, AL

American Bird Conservancy

Anne Arundel County Beekeepers

Appetite for Change

As You Sow

Atrisco Land Grant, Atrisco, NM

Avaaz

Beyond Pesticides

Beyond Toxics

California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation

California State Grange

Californians for Alternatives to Toxics

Californians for Pesticide Reform

Catholic Rural Life

Center for Biological Diversity

Center for Environmental Health

Center for Food Safety

Center for Reflection, Education and Action

Central Iowa Beekeepers Assn

Central Maryland Beekeepers Association

Community Alliance with Family Farmers

Community Food & Justice Coalition

Consumers Union

Dignity Health

Doan Family Farms

Ecohermanas, Washington, DC

Ecological Farming Association

Ecology Center

Ecumenical Eco-justice Network

Environment America

Environment Arizona

Environment California

Environment Colorado

Environment Connecticutt

Environment Florida

Environment Georgia

Environment Illinois

Environment Iowa

Environment Maine

Environment Maryland

Environment Massachusetts

Environment Michigan

Environment Minnesota

Environment Missouri

Environment Montana

Environment Nevada

Environment New Hampshire

Environment New Jersey

Environment New Mexico

Environment New York

Environment North Carolina

Environment Ohio

Environment Oregon

Environment Rhode Island

Environment Texas

Environment Virginia

Environment Washington

Factory Farming Awareness Coalition

Farmworker Association of Florida

Florida Organic Growers

Food & Water Watch

Food Democracy Now!

Friends of the Earth – US

Georgia Organics

Global Bees

Green America

Green Century Capital Management

greenpeace

Indigenous Environmental Network

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Kansas Rural Center

La Mujer Obrera

Land Stewardship Project

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Maryland Ornithological Society

Maryland Pesticide Network

Miller/Howard Investments, Inc.

Missionary Oblates

MOMS Advocating Sustainability (MOMAS)

National Family Farm Coalition

National Hmong American Farmers

National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Coalition

National Organic Coalition

National Organic Dairy Producers Alliance

Natural Resources Defense Council

Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society

North Carolina Association of Black Farmers Land Loss Prevention Project, Durham, NC

Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group

Northern Plains Sustainable Ag Society

Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides

Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment

NRDC

Occidental Arts and Ecology Center

Oklahoma Black Historical Research Project, Oklahoma City, OK

Old Mill Honey Co

Olympia Beekeepers Association

Operation Spring Plant, Oxford, NC

Orange County Food Access Coalition, Santa Ana, CA

Organic Consumers Association

PennEnvironment

People and Pollinators Action Network

Pesticide Action Network North America

Pollinate Minnesota

Pollinator Friendly Alliance of Stillwater

Portfolio Advisory Board of the Adrian Dominican Sisters

Roots of Change, Oakland, CA

Rural Advancement Fund International – USA

Rural Coalition

Rural Development Leadership Network

Sierra Club

Sisters of Charity Health System

Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia

Slow Food USA

SumofUs

The Endocrine Disruption Exchange

The Farmers Guild

The Indian Nations Conservation Alliance, Twin Bridges, Montana

Toxic Free NC

Trillium Asset Management, LLC

United Methodist Caretakers of God’s Creation

Washington State Beekeepers Association

Why Hunger

Wild Farm Alliance

Wisconsin Environment

Women, Food and Agriculture Network

World Farmers, Lancaster, MA