In a move heralded by farmers but panned by environmental groups, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to reapprove the use of neonicotinoids, or “neonics,” pesticides linked to declining populations of bees and other pollinators.
The EPA also published a final interim decision allowing the continued use of glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s heavily used Roundup herbicide. Glyphosate use is restricted in many countries over fears of its impacts on human health.
The agriculture industry cheered the announcements [the last week of January], saying they would give farmers more tools to protect crops, while environmentalists raised alarms about impacts on human health and wildlife.
“Trump’s EPA listens only to the pesticide pushers who’re profiting off disastrous pollinator declines,” said Lori Ann Burd, director of the environmental health program at the Center for Biological Diversity.
Janell Percy, the executive director of Growing Coachella Valley, which advocates on behalf of agriculture, said it would be “devastating” if farmers lost access to these chemicals.
“It costs millions upon millions of dollars to register a pesticide in the United States, and the manufacturers are just not putting the money into it,” she said.