WASHINGTON, D.C. — The White House issued a wide-ranging new plan today to stem the deaths of pollinators, with the goal of reducing honeybee colony losses to no more than 15 percent within ten years and increasing the Eastern monarch butterfly population to 225 million by 2020. The initiative directs federal buildings across the country to construct new pollinator gardens and seeks to restore 7 million acres of federally managed lands to provide habitat for bees and butterflies. The plan fails to ban existing uses of the pesticides, called neonicotinoids, known to cause the most harm to bees and other pollinators. Environment America’s executive director Margie Alt issued the following statement in response:
“Honeybees, monarch butterflies and other pollinators are critical to a healthy planet and a healthy food supply. Bees alone pollinate 70 percent of the world’s most common crops. We should all be alarmed that colonies are dying off in record numbers, and it's encouraging that President Obama and his administration are acting to stem the loss of our pollinators.
“While restoring habitat and planting gardens will help, these measures skirt one of the key causes of dying pollinators. We can’t save the bees unless we ban the pesticides that are killing them, and that’s where the White House plan falls far short."