An Obama-era ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides and cultivation of GMO crops on
US wildlife refuges has been lifted, leaving the nation’s bee population under
The ban on
the pesticides, commonly referred to as neonics, was originally imposed by the
Obama administration as a result of a lawsuit filed by environmentalists.
The US Fish
and Wildlife Service announced an end to the two-year ban on Thursday – adding that
use of neonics on refuges would now be approved or denied on a case-by-case
Wildlife Service Deputy Director Greg Sheehan said that the change in policy is
not only intended to ‘maximize production’ and ‘fulfill needed farming
practices’ but to accommodate hunters.
to Sheehan, neonics encourage the growth of forage for commonly hunted birds
such as ducks and geese.
promotion of hunting on public lands is reportedly a top priority of US
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
The move is
not without criticism – including that of one Facebook user who shared the news
with a caption calling the ban lift ‘short sighted’ and predicting ‘long term harm
that may not be reversible [sic].’
Keating of environmental protection organization Defenders of Wildlife said: “Industrial
agriculture has no place on refuges dedicated to wildlife conservation and
protection of some of the most vital and vulnerable species.”