Tell Congress: STOP Using Pesticides That Kill Our Bees!

Last month, 50,000 bumble bees died after trees in Wilsonville, Oregon were sprayed with dinotefuran, the neonicotinoid ingredient in Safari pesticide. This was the largest bee die-off ever recorded.

With bee populations declining across and around the country at alarming rates, I urge you to support the “Save America’s Pollinators Act” to restrict the use of these chemicals until we can be assured that they are safe and being used properly.

Take-Action

Why is this important?

From flowers to chocolate, berries to tequila, pollinators are integral to the planet, economy, and many aspects of our lives. In fact, the USDA estimates that about one in every three bites of food is either directly or indirectly made possible because of bee pollination. Both our environment and food supply are inextricably tied to the welfare of bees, making the decrease in bee population a cause for great alarm.

Changes in climate and ecosystems are certainly at least partly responsible for the increase in colony collapses, though man may be playing a more direct role in die-offs than that. Neonicotinoids, a particular type of pesticide, have become increasingly common in the last decade and are suspected to be contributing to the decline in bee populations around the world. The die-off of 50,000 bees in Wilsonville, Oregon – roughly 300 nests – after the application of the neonicotinoid dinotefuran was a call to action.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is investigating the die-off and is temporarily restricting the use of 18 pesticide products containing dinotefuran, and the Environmental Protection Agency is currently reviewing the use of these chemicals. However, that review is not scheduled to be completed for another five years. Meanwhile, Europe has already moved forward with restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids

We must act now. This week I introduced, H.R. 2692, The Save America’s Pollinators Act, with my friend Congressman John Conyers to suspend certain uses of neonicotinoids until the Environmental Protection Agency reviews these chemicals and makes a new determination about their proper application and safe use. This will increase pressure on the EPA to speed their review before another mass bee-die off can occur.

Raising the public awareness of the integral role of pollinators to the world, the precarious state of their population, and what we can do to protect them is of the utmost importance. I’ll hope you’ll join me as a citizen co-sponsor of this important legislation.

Sincerely,
Earl Blumenauer
Member of Congress

Learn more about the Save America’s Pollinators Act:

The Save America’s Pollinators Act of 2013

 Congressman Earl Blumenauer • Third District of Oregon • http://www.blumenauer.house.gov

Background

Pollinators—including honeybees, bumble bees, butterflies, and other insects—play an important role in our farms, flower gardens, and food. In fact, some of the crops most important to Oregon’s agricultural economy—blueberries, raspberries, cherries, apples, vegetable seed, squash—are reliant on bees for pollination and reproduction. More than 70% of America’s food sources are pollinated by bees and the worldwide economic value of these crops is as high as $200 billion a year.

America’s bee population is struggling. During the last five years, beekeepers have lost more than 30% of their hives annually. While many factors are believed to contribute to this die-off, significant evidence links the use of a certain class of nicotine-derived pesticides, neonicotinoids, with bee die-offs. In 2013, the European Union significantly limited the use of neonicotinoids, citing concern about their impact on honeybee populations. That ban took effect April 29th and is valid for two years.

EPA Review Process

In 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiated a new process to reevaluate pesticides on a regular cycle. Each licensed pesticide is reviewed every fifteen years to confirm that it is being used safely and that its impacts on human health and the environment are properly assessed. Most neonicotinoids are scheduled to be reviewed in 2018.

Legislation

The Save America’s Pollinators Act of 2013 directs the Environmental Protection Agency to suspend use of the most bee-toxic neonicotinoids for use in seed treatment, soil application, or foliar treatment on bee attractive plants within 180 days, and to review these neonicotinoids and make a new determination about their proper application and safe use. EPA is required to take all peer reviewed data into account when reviewing the use of these neonicotinoids, and to specifically account for any potential impact on the health and viability of pollinator populations.

Given the recent bee die-offs in Hillsboro, Oregon and Wilsonville, Oregon and disturbing preliminary research on the impact of these pesticides, it is clear that they must be evaluated to ensure that their use does not pose an immediate threat to bee populations and the long-term viability of our farms. Until those determinations are made, we cannot risk the potential of putting our farms, food, and families in danger.

The Save America’s Pollinators Act also instructs the Secretary of the Interior, in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, to issue a report on the native bee populations in the United States, any decline in the population levels, and any potential causes of such decline.


Supported by: Center for Food Safety, Xerces Society, NW Center for Alternatives to Pesticides

For more information on Congressman Blumenauer’s agricultural agenda, please contact Tyler Frisbee (202) 225-4811 or Hillary Barbour (503)231-2300 or visit him on the web at http://www.blumenauer.house.gov.

Tell the Department of Justice: Investigate Pennsylvania’s Coverup of Fracking Water Contamination

Here’s the latest shocking evidence that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is more concerned with promoting fracking than protecting Pennsylvanians.

The DEP intentionally withheld evidence of fracking-related water contamination from three Pennsylvania families.1

According to sworn court testimony from DEP officials, the DEP sent only partial lab test results to the families,2 leaving them in the dark about the fracking-related contaminants in their water, even as they suffered from a slew of health problems.3

The DEP’s actions are reprehensible. At best, they are dangerous. At worst, as State Representative Jesse White has suggested, they are potentially criminal. And they call into question the DEP’s independence from the fracking industry. The people of Pennsylvania deserve a thorough investigation by independent federal authorities to determine the full extent of the DEP’s coverup of fracking water contamination and whether it broke the law.

Tell the Department of Justice: Investigate Pennsylvania’s coverup of fracking water contamination.

In court, DEP officials revealed that it is standard procedure at the agency to release only partial lab results to families who complain that their water has been contaminated by fracking. But instead of acknowledging the seriousness of these accusations, the DEP denied that hiding evidence of water contamination is wrong and even brazenly denounced Representative White as ideologically motivated when he called for an investigation.

The DEP claims that the contaminants it found were in concentrations below safe limits. But any evidence of fracking-related contamination is a cause for concern. In Pennsylvania, fracking companies are allowed to keep secret the chemicals they use, which means that any evidence of fracking-related water contamination raises the possibility that there are dangerous chemicals in the water that aren’t even being tested for.5

Tell the Department of Justice: Investigate Pennsylvania’s coverup of fracking water contamination.

Pennsylvania’s fracking boom is a national disgrace. While Pennsylvania’s government bends over backward for the gas industry, communities in the state’s gasland have experienced severe problems: explosions, flammable tap water, huge ponds filled with radioactive wastewater, and massive chemical spills. Some residents have even found fracking chemicals and heavy metals in their blood.5

Accusations that Pennsylvania officials intentionally withheld evidence of water contamination from families impacted by fracking are the last straw.We don’t know if the DEP broke the law, but we do know that it failed to notify three families that their water had been contaminated by fracking. Pennsylvanians deserve a transparent investigation into the DEP’s water-testing procedures and a full explanation of why the DEP covered up evidence of fracking water contamination from impacted families.

Tell the Department of Justice: Investigate Pennsylvania’s coverup of fracking water contamination.

1. Don Hopey, “Lawmaker challenges Pennsylvania DEP’s reporting of gas well water safety,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 2, 2012
2. Jon Hurdle, “Pennsylvania Report Left Out Data on Poisons in Water Near Gas Site,”New York Times, November 2, 2012
3. Don Hopey, “Washington County families sue over fracking, water testing,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 26, 2012
4. Rachel Morgan, “Heavy metals: Study links water contamination to fracking,” Times Online, November 3, 2012
5. Mike Soraghan, “Two-thirds of frack disclosures omit ‘secrets,'” EnergyWire, September 26, 2012
6. Eliza Griswold, “The Fracturing of Pennsylvania,” New York Times, November 2011

Save Our Post Offices!

CREDO Action | more than a network, a movement.

Tell Congress: Save the post office.  This is NO time to close down post offices across rural America and cut 220,000 jobs!

Take Action!We need to save the post office. The Postmaster General wants to close over half of the mail processing centers and over 3,000 mostly rural post offices. And his plan includes laying off almost 220,000 workers. In this economy, that’s the last thing we need.

Rural post offices in particular are important institutions. Closing them, especially in areas with little or no access to broadband internet service, could have a major impact on the communities they serve. And closing them won’t save much money.

Collectively, all the post offices being considered for closure account for a miniscule amount, four-tenths of one percent, of the postal service’s annual budget. As one former Postmaster General said, “That’s not even a drop in the bucket. The bucket won’t ripple.”1

Tell Congress: Save the post office. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

It’s true the post office faces financial challenges. But the financial problems are in large part a direct result of an onerous and ill-considered 2006 law that mandates that the postal service pre-fund its retiree health care and pension benefits for 75 years — something that no other government agency or private company is forced to do.

85% of the red ink comes from this pre-funding mandate despite the fact that, according to the Post Office Inspector General, the pension is over-funded and reserves for retiree health care are far higher than the federal government as a whole, the military and almost all Fortune 1000 companies.2

Simply modifying the 2006 pre-funding mandate would provide considerable breathing room for the post office. And while some changes to the post office are certainly necessary to preserve and improve it in the 21st Century, now’s not the time to close post offices and cut hundreds of thousands of jobs.

CLICK HERE to tell Congress: “Save our Post Offices!”

Thank you for speaking out to save the post office.

Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

1. “Special Report: Towns go dark with post office closings,” Reuters, 02-14-12.
2. Letter from United State Post Office Inspector General David C. Williams to Senator Bernie Sanders, dated 02-06-12.