"A federal appeals court this week assailed the Environmental Protection Agency for approving a Dow AgroSciences insecticide linked to honeybee deaths, charging that the agency's action was based on flawed and inadequate data.
The decision by a three judge panel in San Francisco was a huge win for beekeepers who have argued that the new type of insecticide targeted in the case one of the causes of "Colony Collapse Disorder" blamed for the deaths of millions of hives.
It was a huge blow to Dow, which touted its pesticide Sulfoxaflor to investors. The company's stock took a hit on Wall Street today.
And the EPA also was smacked for approving the chemical that is part of a family of pesticides called neonicotinoids before it had fully tested the impact.
As a result, the court struck down the EPA's approval of Sulfoxaflor and ordered more tests. Dow said it will offer more testing.
Despite President Obama's focus on the plight of the honeybee, the EPA hasn't taken steps to ban the family of pesticides like European nations and even some U.S. cities have. Instead, it approved limited applications, but the court said even that went too far and didn't take into account the potential lasting impact of the bee's interaction with the chemical.
One judge wrote, "The EPA's procedure and cursory explanations in this case suggest the EPA has not met even the lower bar of the arbitrary and capricious standard, much less the substantial evidence standard. The EPA has shown that it analyzed studies of sulfoxaflor, but not that it deems those studies reliable. The EPA has shown that it reviewed data, but not that its decision is rationally connected to the data. The EPA has not 'articulate[d] a satisfactory explanation for its action' or provided an adequate basis for us to reasonably discern the EPA's path. I do not ask the EPA to 'explain every possible scientific uncertainty' or instruct the EPA how to improve its analysis. I simply ask the EPA to explain the analysis it conducted, the data it reviewed, and how the EPA relied on the data in making its final decision. Currently, the EPA's interesting choice of procedure and lack of explanation regarding its analysis call into question the connection between the cited data and the final decision."
The full decision is here." 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. http://earthjustice.org/sites/default/files/files/sulfoxaflor-opinion.pdf