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Pollinator Stewardship Council v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

ELR Citation: 45 ELR 20167
Nos. 13-72346, (9th Cir., 09/10/2015)

The Ninth Circuit vacated and remanded EPA's unconditional registration of insecticides containing sulfoxaflor, ordering the Agency to obtain further studies and data regarding the effect of sulfoxaflor on bees, as required by EPA regulations. FIFRA prohibits the use or sale of pesticides that lack approval and registration by EPA. Commercial bee keepers and bee keeping organizations challenged EPA's approval of insecticides containing sulfoxaflor, which initial studies showed were highly toxic to honey bees. The court found that EPA's decision to unconditionally register sulfoxaflor was based on flawed and limited data. The Agency's unconditional approval therefore was not supported by substantial evidence and must be remanded. In addition, the court chose to vacate the registration rather than leaving it in place during remand. Bees are essential for pollinating crops and in recent years have been dying at alarming rates. And given the precariousness of bee populations, leaving EPA's registration of sulfoxaflor in place would risk more potential environmental harm than vacating it.