Thursday, July 7, 2016

Environmentalists take neonics to court

Several environmental groups are taking the federal Pest Management Regulatory Agency to court for allowing two neonicitinoid seed-treatment pesticides to remain on the market.

They point to reservations the PMRA has had about the potential impact on bee colonies to claim that they should have been pulled from the market.

Ontario angered crop farmers when it announced strict limitations on the continued use of neonicitinoids as seed treatments. The Grain Farmers of Ontario filed a lawsuit and lost and filed an appeal and lost again.

The lawsuit was filed in Toronto by the David Suzuki Foundation, Friends of the Earth Canada, Ontario Nature and the Wilderness Committee.

"The Pest Management Regulatory Agency does not have reasonable certainty about the risks of these products, which they're required to do," said Charles Hatt, the lawyer arguing the case.

Hatt said the agency has a history with two so-called neonics, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, dating back about a decade.

"What you see is that for a number of years the (agency officials) will note that they are concerned about risks to pollinators, to bees, from chronic toxicity and that they need field studies to determine the nature of the risk. 

“Then they will request that information from the proponent (the manufacturers and distributors) and they either get something they deem inadequate, or they get nothing at all.

"But they continue to register and re-register the product.

"We've had a situation where for years, they're continuing these product registrations without the scientific information that the agency itself flags as critical for determining the risks of these pesticides."

The federal government has yet to file a response in court.

Maybe the environmental activists could spend a few days in a corn field, picking worms.