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Earl Blumenauer proposes moratorium on use of pesticides harming bees

by: LORI HALL  - Nets were placed over European linden trees near Wilsonville Target after massive bumblebee deaths there traced to pesticide. U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Portland, introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday that would place a national moratorium on the use of certain pesticides suspected of harming bees.

Blumenauer’s measure would restrict use of neonicotinoid pesticides, a class that includes the chemical compound suspected of causing the massive bumblebee deaths near the Target store in Wilsonville last month. An estimated 50,000 bees died on or around European Linden trees near the store that state agriculture inspectors determined had been sprayed with an insecticide known as dinotefuran, sold commercially as Safari.

The ag department later announced temporary restrictions in Oregon on the sale of 18 pesticides that contain dinotefuran.

In April, the European Union created continent-wide restrictions on the use of bee-harming pesticides. A majority of member nations voted to place a two-year ban on the use of three neonicotinoids suspected of doing harm to bees, according to the

Oakland-based Pesticide Action Network.

That group praised Blumenauer’s effort, saying the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Agriculture had failed to address concerns about neonicotinoid pesticides.