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EPA Declares “Emergency” to Allow Dumping of Bee-Killing Pesticides on 16 Million Acres

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Bee-Killing Sulfoxaflor
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted “emergency” clearance to sulfoxaflor – an insecticide that, by the agency’s own admission, is considered “very highly toxic” to bees. Sulfoxaflor will be used on over 16 million acres of crops that are attractive to bees.

The move has been denounced as unacceptable by the Center for Biological Diversity, a group that has railed against the cynical and routine use of “emergency” declarations that approve the use of pesticides across millions of acres in a manner that largely disregards risks to both the environment and to human health.

In a statement, senior scientist with the center Nathan Donley said:

“Spraying 16 million acres of bee-attractive crops with a bee-killing pesticide in a time of global insect decline is beyond the pale, even for the Trump administration … The EPA is routinely misusing the ’emergency’ process to get sulfoxaflor approved because it’s too toxic to make it through normal pesticide reviews.”

However, such warnings are unlikely to shake the EPA, which has exploited its authority under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act to rush through pesticides, including ones that haven’t yet passed regulatory review, under alleged “emergency” conditions such as the unexpected outbreak of insects that damage crops.

The Center for Biological Diversity has accused the EPA of widely abusing the process in a “routine and foreseeable” manner over the years with little regard for the contamination of pollinators due to the use of sulfoxaflor.

While sulfoxaflor had been widely touted as a bee-friendly version of neonicotinoids, the common insecticide responsible for drastically slashing bee numbers in the past, a study last year by researchers at Royal Holloway, University of London found that exposure to sulfoxaflor could reduce the size of bumblebee colonies and their offspring by 54 percent.

In 2015, U.S. beekeepers and conservationists successfully sued the EPA for flouting federal law and streamlining the approval of sulfoxaflor without holding any reliable study of the neonic’s impact on bee populations. However, by 2016 the EPA introduced a new registration for sulfoxaflor – ostensibly on the grounds that it would ensure no exposure to bees – that allowed for its usage on crops like cotton and sorghum, both crops that attract the pollinators.

By 2018, these allowances allowed for the insecticide’s use in 16.2 million acres across the U.S. on an alleged “emergency” basis, with emergency approvals being granted in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

The news comes as scientists have issued increasingly stark warnings over the precipitous decline of insect species’ numbers across the globe, in large measure due to the overuse of pesticides, unsustainable agricultural production processes and climate change. Last week, a global scientific review noted that the extinction of insects worldwide threatens a catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems.”

“The conclusion is clear: unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades,” the report warned.

Earthjustice attorney Greg Loarie commented:

“This is language that scientists don’t typically use … They do when they are trying to flag a substantial crisis. And that’s exactly what this is. You don’t have an ecosystem without insects; insects are the bedrock upon which everyone else sits. We need a food system that is not bringing down the very centerpiece of our food chain.”

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Animals

Scientists Catch a Glimpse of a Ultra-Rare Giant Phantom Jelly, With Bizarre Ribbon-Like Arms

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Researchers have seen a large deep-sea jellyfish with the assistance of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) named Doc Ricketts off the coast of California, in an extremely rare sighting. The footage revealed the creature’s unique and exquisite features.

The uncommon encounter was documented in November this year, 990 meters (3,200 ft) deep in Monterey Bay, according to a report issued by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).

Youtube Screenshot

The enigmatic phantom jellyfish was initially discovered in 1899, but scientists did not recognize it as a distinct species until 1960. Scientists still know very little about this creature.

The specimen of the huge phantom jelly has only been seen 110 times in 110 years across the world. According to the MBARI research, despite thousands of dives, their ROVs have only observed this amazing species nine times.

The huge phantom jellyfish has the following characteristics:

The bell of this deep-sea denizen is more than one meter (3.3 feet) broad, with four ribbon-like oral (or mouth) arms that can grow to be more than 10 meters (33 feet) long, according to an MBARI report.

Youtube Screenshot

The species is said to inhabit anywhere between the surface and 21,900 feet in depth. It does, however, remain in the twilight zone, which is just beyond the reach of sunlight.

The organism, formally known as ‘Stygiomedusa gigantea’, is found all across the planet except in the Arctic Ocean, according to the experts.

Youtube Screenshot

It’s worth noting that, in the past, scientists depended on trawl-nets to examine deep-sea species; but, the jellies, which transform into a viscous goo in trawl nets, were difficult to research using this outdated method. Fish, crabs, and squids are among the only creatures that can be effectively studied from nets.

Researchers may now examine these creatures in their native habitat with high-definition footage thanks to the robot cams. I, personally, prefer this “no-touch” approach.

Watch the mesmerizing video here:

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Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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