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Pesticide Industry Deployed Aggressive Lobby Effort to Quash Bee Protections

Bayer, Monsanto, and Syngenta are effectively “shaping new pollinator ‘protection’ plans nationwide that do little to protect bees, but a lot to protect industry profits.”

by Lauren McCauley, staff writer at Commondreams.com

Despite the abundance of scientific studies documenting the rapid and dangerous decline of pollinator populations, state and federal lawmakers have yet to pass any meaningful protections for bees.

The reason, according to the findings of a new investigation, is that pesticide giants such as Bayer, Monsanto, and Syngenta have deployed an aggressive lobbying campaign to dilute and suppress attempts to regulate their multi-billion dollar industry—with great success.

Published by environmental watchdog Friends of the Earth, the report (pdf) exposes “how the pesticide industry has weakened and delayed pesticide reforms and is shaping new pollinator ‘protection’ plans nationwide that do little to protect bees, but a lot to protect industry profits.”

The agrochemical industry has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on state and federal lobbying efforts, which the report says have effectively pushed lawmakers to pass so-called “pollinator protection plans” that “lack metrics to measure effectiveness, improvement, or failure” and often “provide more protections for pesticides and pesticide users than for bee keepers and bee colonies.”

What’s more, the ever-present “revolving door” between the public and private sector has allowed the pesticide industry to “infiltrate” regulatory agencies. “In hundreds of documented cases, employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency have shuffled between regulatory agencies and companies including Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto,” the study notes.

The pesticide industry has peddled influence in other ways, as well. By cultivating strategic partnerships with public agencies and academic groups, and by funding science and education initiatives, Big Biotech supports research efforts that sow doubt about the extent of their products’ toxic impact.

“Pesticide companies are successfully pulling the wool over the eyes of our policy makers…     (Read more)

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