Environmental groups and beekeepers have joined together to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its "failure to protect pollinators from dangerous pesticides," according to a Center for Food Safety press release.
The federal lawsuit seeks action against neonicotinoid pesticides that are toxic to honey bees, including clothianidin and thiamethoxam, two chemicals produced by Syngenta (NYSE: SYT ) and Bayer CropScience.
According to The New York Times, both corporations say that available scientific evidence does not justify broad restrictions.
"There has been a long history of the safe use of neonicotinoid insecticides and it is clear that when they are used responsibly and properly, any impact on bees is negligible," Bayer CropScience said in a statement March 15 in reaction to an EU failure to reach consensus against the pesticides.
The Center for Food Safety alleges that independent scientists have proven the pesticides' harmful effects on honey bees
The Center for Food Safety -- which describes itself as a "non-profit public interest and environmental advocacy organization working to protect human health and the environment by curbing the use of harmful food production technologies and by promoting organic and other forms of sustainable agriculture" -- also states that this year's almond harvest was significantly impacted by bee losses of up to 50% in California.
"Beekeepers and environmental and consumer groups have demonstrated time and time again over the last several years that EPA needs to protect bees. The agency has refused, so we’ve been compelled to sue," said Center for Food Safety attorney Peter Jenkins in a statement. "EPA’s unlawful actions should convince the Court to suspend the approvals for clothianidin and thiamethoxam products until those violations are resolved." The petitioners in the lawsuit are four beekeepers and five environmental and consumer groups.