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Groups sue Trump’s EPA in response to ‘nauseating’ approval of bee-killing pesticide

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“Pure pro-pesticide politics.”

A pair of environmental groups on Tuesday filed suit against the President Donald Trump administration over the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent approval of expanded use of the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor across 200 million acres in 12 states.

The Center for Food Safety and the Center for Biological Diversity filed the suit (pdf) in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals against the EPA and agency administrator Andrew Wheeler.

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In a statement, George Kimbrell, legal director at the Center for Food Safety, said the decision to allow the pesticide was “pure pro-pesticide politics.”

“Trump’s EPA can’t justify throwing our already imperiled pollinators under the bus,” said Kimbrell. “That’s why the agency offered no chance for the public or independent researchers to comment. And that’s why we’re suing them.”

According to a press release announcing the litigation:

Today’s lawsuit, filed in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, contends that before approving the sweeping new uses of sulfoxaflor, the EPA failed in its legal duty to compile “substantial evidence” required under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. FIFRA, as it’s known, is the federal law underpinning the U.S. system of pesticide regulation, designed to protect applicators, consumers, and the environment.

The EPA also violated its duty to ensure that its approval of sulfoxaflor doesn’t jeopardize the continued existence of endangered species by consulting on the effects of its actions with wildlife experts at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service.

Under the new approval, sulfoxaflor can be used on alfalfa, cacao, corn, cotton, grains, pineapple, sorghum, soybeans, and strawberries as well as on tree plantations, ornamental crops, and citrus orchards.

As Common Dreams reported on July 8, the EPA made the decision to allow use of the pesticide on June 20 and the Trump administration followed up in early July by announcing a halt on the collection of data on declining honey bee populations.

The consequences of such a move could be disastrous for the environment. Bees are important pollinators, and their population has declined in recent years.

According to reporting from HuffPost:

The number of honey bee hives, vital to pollinating crops for the agricultural industry and other plants for wildlife, plummeted from 6 million in 1947 to 2.4 million in 2008. The worst honeybee hive loss on record occurred last winter as beekeepers reported a 40% loss of their colonies over the year.

In Brazil, as Common Dreams reported earlier Tuesday, use of pesticides has led to the deaths of at least half a billion bees.

Lori Ann Burd, the director of the environmental health program at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement that the approval of the pesticide was a terrible mistake, “even for Trump’s EPA.”

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“While leading scientists and countries across the globe are calling for eliminating harmful neonicotinoid pesticides like sulfoxaflor, Team Trump is cheerfully promoting its use like a corporate PR firm,” said Burd. “It’s nauseating.”

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‘Should we talk about Ivanka?’: MSNBC guest calls for Trump family investigation if Biden’s son is scrutinized

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During a panel discussion on Donald Trump's call for an investigation of Joe Biden's son Hunter over his Ukraine dealings, an "AM Joy" guest said if Congress is going to investigate politician's kids why not start with Ivanka Trump and her brothers Don Jr. and Eric.

Speaking with MSNBC host Joy Reid, Intercept columnist Mehdi Hasan called out President Donald Trump for his "brazenness" going after the former vice president's son.

"There's so much to say about this story, as for the Ukrainian denials, what are they going to do, come out and say, 'Yes, Donald Trump did pressure our president eight times in a single phone call'? It's absurd." Hasan began.

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Lindsey Graham drives bus over Trump kids to get to Biden: ‘You can’t investigate one family and not the other’

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) suggested on Sunday that the children of both President Donald Trump and Joe Biden should be investigated.

While speaking to Fox News host Maria Bartiromo, Graham was asked if he is calling for an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son over dealings in the Ukraine. President Donald Trump allegedly also asked Ukraine's president for help with the Bidens.

"Yeah, I want the Department of Justice to appoint somebody to look at the role the Ukraine played if any in the 2016 elections," Graham told Bartiromo. "There are a lot of allegations out there how Ukraine fed information maybe to the Democrats."

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Entire CNN panel beats down Santorum for Ukraine misinformation: ‘You don’t get to decide what the facts are’

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Conservative CNN contributor Rick Santorum was called out on Sunday after he seemed to be uneducated about President Donald Trump's attempt to have Ukraine investigate Joe Biden and his son.

During a panel discussion on CNN, Republican contributor Mia Love said that Trump's communication with Ukraine was not "appropriate" if he was looking for campaign help.

"There is no equivalence between Joe Biden and Hunter Biden and what this president has allegedly done," Democratic consultant Karen Finney noted. "The things that were investigated against the Bidens [were] shelved, totally debunked."

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