As 2021 draws to a close and 2022 beckons, the Pollinator Stewardship Council (PSC) would like to thank everyone for their support and encouragement over the years. The Pollinator Stewardship Council remains fully committed to our mission “To defend managed and native pollinators vital to a sustainable food supply, from the adverse impact of pesticides.”
Since 2006 when PSC board member David Hackenberg first drew national attention to the mysterious bee problem now known as CCD, beekeepers and research scientists have worked tirelessly to understand the problem and address the root causes.
The first collaborative effort of the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) and the American Honey Producers Association (AHPA) was named the Bayer Beekeeper Dialogue Committee (2009-11). After two years of beekeepers’ good faith efforts with the pesticide industry, we realized that there was no reciprocation. The united effort of the beekeeping organizations continued without Bayer, under the new name of National Honey Bee Advisory Board (2011-14). Since 2015, the PSC has taken over the mantle.
Good science has always been at the basis of our work, and collaboration with scientists from USDA, EPA, and academia has helped us understand the mysteries of honey bee decline - which we now understand to be a broader insect apocalypse impacting many more species beyond honey bees.
The PSC and our board have been meeting with the EPA and USDA since 2006. We understand the policy challenges of pollinator protection. Through these years it has always seemed like our efforts were for naught. Insiders consistently whispered to us that the game was rigged in favor of huge corporations like Monsanto, Ag Chem China, and Bayer. Today thanks to four brave whistleblowers within EPA and a brilliant piece of investigative journalism, we are learning the extent of that “influence.”
A hopeful note is the appointment of Michal Freedhof and Jake Li to the two highest positions within the EPA Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP). Both are strong people with backgrounds in tackling thorny environmental issues such as PFAS chemicals.Their presence sends a clear signal to staff within the Office of Pesticide Programs. We are in communication with both directors and feel optimistic that good science and the public’s best interests may finally govern pesticide registration and oversight. At the same time, we remain dedicated to building power outside of the halls of EPA to demand these changes.
The latest example of PSC’s impact in the protection of pollinators is our recent legal victory in California banning the use of the destructive pesticide sulfoxaflor. With the assistance of our dedicated legal team at Earthjustice, a California Superior court ruled on December 3, 2021, that use of this deadly chemical violated state environmental law. The members of Pollinator Stewardship Council are committed to the long-haul game of protecting pollinators from pesticides. This could not have been accomplished without your help and with your continued support we can make real progress in 2022. Your contribution at this critical time will make a difference, and we appreciate your dedication to the protection of our pollinators.
Steve Ellis, President