Author: Reed Hopper
We all know the old nursery rhyme Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? But have we ever pondered the question? In modern society, large gardens–the kinds that feed nations–grow with the prudent use of pesticides. CropLife International provides this timely reminder:
Pesticides have contributed significantly to improving quality of life and safeguarding the environment. Although often taken for granted, without these important products, food production would decline, many fruits and vegetables would be in short supply and prices would rise. Far more of our parklands and natural habitats would have to be turned over to food production to meet the demands of a growing global population. Insect-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, and west Nile virus would proliferate unchecked.
This reminder is timely because activists are renewing their war on pesticides. The Center for Biological Diversity is touting its new nationwide suit against the EPA claiming the agency must do more to protect threatened and endangered species from pesticide use. To be sure, improper pesticide use can harm species and the environment, but that's why pesticides are among the most regulated products in the Nation.
Several years ago, when activists started bringing these suits, PLF supported government arguments that pesticide use was already strictly controlled and would protect species if the applicator followed the directions on the label and that requiring special consultation with wildlife officials at the pesticide registration stage was too conjectural as the agency could not anticipate the place and frequency of use. But the agency routinely lost, then settled, these cases. Now, with a record of wins and a history of agency settlements behind them, the activists are going all in on the issue. The result is that EPA will impose stricter limits on pesticide use which may mean diminishing benefits for the Nation as a whole.