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This morning, the Obama Administration announced an ambitious plan to reverse what they consider to be one of the worst environmental disasters of our time: the decline of the American bee population.
The plan, which does not yet have a total price tag, includes updating millions of acres of Federal land to be more “bee friendly,” and an additional $50 million in Federal dollars earmarked specifically for “bee research,” increasing the “bee research” budget from around $50 million to a whopping $82.5 million in next year’s Federal budget- just to watch and study bees and find out whether they are declining in population.
Unfortunately for the administration – but fortunately for the bees – their emergency bee rescue program may be a touch too late. According to Paul Dreissen of CFACT, while the agenda behind the bee assistance programs has remained the same since it was first discovered that American bees were declining in population some time ago, the bee population itself has reversed course, and even been slowly increasing. According to one wild bee specialist with the U.S. Geological Study, most bee breeds are actually doing fine, and we’ve been holding steady at around 2.5 million honey-producing hives in the United States since 1995. Obviously, a thriving population has never stopped the slow march of any Federal government rescue program, but it is at least worth noting that the bees seem to prefer the embrace of their own free market solutions.
Oddly enough, despite the good news about the bees and the Federal government’s sudden, if tardy, interest and investment, environmental groups, like the Center for Biological Diversity and the Friends of the Earth, are rather unhappy about the President’s new “bee plan.” It seems that, despite their demonstrated compassionate concern for the bee population, a hidden agenda – the control and regulation of certain pesticides – was actually behind their bee priorities the whole time. The President’s plan stopped short of banning or even regulating what’s known as “neonicotinoid” pesticides, which environmental groups claim is behind every bee-related infirmity, despite cries from environmentalists that neonicotinoids are a “crisis” and that the bees “cannot wait” for further scientific studies to discern whether it is truly necessary to take on these “bee-killing” pesticides before they usher in a “bee-pocalypse.”
But while environmental groups have been successful at persuading certain corporate entities into taking neonics out of their stores with their claims of “settled science,” it seems unlikely that neonicotinoids are responsible for fabled bee die-off – so unlikely that even a clearly predisposed Environmental Protection Agency and eco-conscious administration were reticent to take their claims at face value. Field studies have shown that bees have been unaffected by the rise in neonic pesticide use, and claims of a “bee-pocalypse” at the hands of pesticide use have, like the chemicals used to protect crops, dissipated. As part of the President’s plan, the EPA will “investigate” the use of neonicotinoid pesticides with an eye to their impact on bees, but they won’t take the environmentalist studies, many of which are flawed, at face value.
As far as the bees are concerned, as special interest groups and politicians in Washington quibble over how to ensure their future, they seem more than happy to continue on with their lives in a productive and expansive fashion. To paraphrase Rousseau, “the bees are born free – but it is in Washington that they are in chains!”