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The Almighty Buck United States Science

US Government Introduces Pollinator Action Plan To Save Honey Bees 143

An anonymous reader writes The White House has announced a federal strategy to reverse a decline in the number of honeybees and other pollinators in the United States. Obama has directed federal agencies to use research, land management, education and public/private partnerships to advance honeybee and other pollinator health and habitats. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Agriculture Department will lead a multi-agency task force to develop a pollinator health strategy and action plan within six months. As part of the plan, the USDA announced $8 million in funding for farmers and ranchers in five states who establish new habitats for honeybee populations.
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US Government Introduces Pollinator Action Plan To Save Honey Bees

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  • For a First Step (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JenovaSynthesis ( 528503 ) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @10:47AM (#47293021)

    How about banning the pesticide that's killing them off?

  • by mmell ( 832646 ) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @10:58AM (#47293075)
    Good luck convincing Bayer - the same wonderful people who brought you buffered aspirin. Neonicitinoids are big business - who cares if a few beekeepers are inconvenienced? There's no money in aspirin anymore, think of all the employees of Bayer.
  • Re:8 million? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @11:01AM (#47293089)

    Isn't that a rounding error for an organisation the size of the US government?

    Programs do not need to be expensive in order to be effective. As a beekeeper, I think the most effective government program would actually generate money for the government, rather than have a net cost: Farmers are required to notify the local beekeeper organization when they spray certain pesticides, but few do, and the fines, even if they get caught, are too low to matter. We should have stronger enforcement, funded by much steeper fines. There is no excuse for failing to notify. All it takes is a one minute phone call or a few clicks on a website.

  • Re:8 million? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @11:12AM (#47293149)

    > There is no excuse for failing to notify

    Of course there is: if they made the notification then you wouldn't bring your bees to pollinate their field. What happens to your bees afterwards has no effect on their profits, and the fine is an acceptable expense compared to a non-pollinated crop, so they are behaving in a perfectly rational (if short-sighted) manner.

    I agree, if the government really wants to save the bees then there's a couple of really simple options available: set the fines so high that nobody will "forget" to make the notification, or better still ban neonicitinoid use completely so that wild bee populations can make a comeback as well.

  • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @11:45AM (#47293317)
    And that is why free market solutions are not enough. The self adjusting nature of markets are generally only sensitive to the two parties involved in a transaction, they react poorly to the effects of the transaction on 3rd parties. It is why free markets tend to have slavery or something functionally equivalent, it is great for owners and sellers, and the people being trafficked are not factored in.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 22, 2014 @01:23PM (#47293727)

    GMO's have absolutely nothing to do with this.

  • Re:8 million? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davester666 ( 731373 ) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @01:32PM (#47293757) Journal

    Sure, beekeepers will have no problem suing large agricorp farms for damages.

panic: kernel trap (ignored)