Following reports  that scientists at the United States Department of Agriculture are being harrassed and their research on bee-killing pesticides is being censored or suppressed, a broad coalition of farmers, environmentalists, fisheries and food-safety organizations urged an investigation in a May 5 letter  sent to Phyllis K. Fong, USDA Inspector General.
“The possibility that the USDA is prioritizing the interests of the chemical industry over those of the American public is unacceptable,” states the letter, which was signed by more than 25 citizens’ groups concerned that a forthcoming report by the White House Task Force on Pollinator Health, which is co-chaired by the USDA, will be compromised.
The signatories include the American Bird Conservancy, Avaaz, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Farmworkers Association of Florida, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Green America, Organic Consumers Association and Sierra Club.
“It is imperative that the American people can trust that their government and its employees are serving their constituents and not the profits of private companies,” they wrote. “All of the research that the USDA conducts must maintain scientific integrity and transparency to ensure it is guiding sound policy decisions.”
The research in question centers on neonicotinoids , a nicotine-like class of insecticides that impair the neurological systems of insects and which studies have linked to die-offs of bees and monarch butterflies—two key pollinators—as well as birds. Neonicotinoids have been strongly linked to honey-bee colony collapse disorder (CCD), a syndrome first observed in Germany that has been blamed for massive bee population declines across the globe. In 2013, certain neonicotinoids were banned by the European Union and a few non-EU nations.