Saturday, June 21, 2014

Presidential Pollinator Protection: More Activity as Substitute for Accomplishment

By Rich Kozlovich

An article by Justin Sink appeared in the online edition of The Hill on 06/20/14 stating that Obama has sent out an executive order to all Cabinet secretaries and agency heads requiring “the federal government to develop a plan for protecting pollinators such as honey bees, butterflies, birds and bats in response to mounting concerns about the impact of dwindling populations on American crops.”

Obama also claims, ADVERTthe problem is serious and requires immediate attention to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid additional economic impact on the agricultural sector, and protect the health of the environment".

Consistency is important, it’s unfortunate that Obama is wrong so -consistently. It’s also unfortunate that so many who have posted commentaries on the problems with bees, birds, bats and butterflies are equally so. If the logical fallacies and misinformation were eliminated from these commentaries there would far fewer, and those left would be far more accurate.

Let's start with European honey bees. In January of 2012 I pointed out in my article,Colony CollapseDisorder: Cause – All Natural:

“First, it is not true that there has been a mysterious worldwide collapse in honey bee populations. In fact managed hives (which contain the bees which do the vast majority of our pollinating) have increased by a remarkable 45 per cent over the last five years. Lawrence D. Harder from the department of biology at the University of Calgary and Marcelo Aizen from Buenos Aires set about pinning down a couple of myths…….The bee disaster scenario is dependent upon data which is far too regional to take seriously and ‘not representative of global trends’. The truth is that there are more bees in the world than ever. They go on to say; ‘It is a myth that humanity would starve without bees.’ While some 70 per cent of our most productive crops are animal-pollinated (by bees, hoverflies and the like), very few indeed rely on animal pollination completely. Furthermore, most staple foods — wheat, rice and corn — do not depend on animal pollination at all. They are wind-pollinated, or self-pollinating. If all the bees in the world dropped dead tomorrow afternoon, it would reduce our food production by only between 4 and 6 per cent.....‘Overall we must conclude that claims of a global crisis in agricultural production are untrue.’

Sink goes on to say;

“under the president's order, the government will establish a new task force tasked with developing a "coordinated research action plan" to help better understand and prevent the loss of pollinating species.” And that “government agencies will also be tasked with developing plans to enhance habitats for pollinating species on federal lands. And agencies will partner with local governments, farmers, and the business community in a bid to increase the quality and availability of available habitats for the species.”

This will be just another excuse for huge land grabs by the federal government, as if under the Endangered Species Act the use of “suitable habitat” rulings aren’t bad enough already.

Obama claims that"given the breadth, severity, and persistence of pollinator losses, it is critical to expand federal efforts and take new steps to reverse pollinator losses and help restore populations to healthy levels”. Now here’s the part that should be of even more concern. The President says; "these steps should include the development of new public-private partnerships and increased citizen engagement." Who exactly will make up these groups of ‘citizens’ in these ‘public-private” groups? Will it be the Sierra Club, Greenpeace or other green/left activists who will use any excuse to stand against modern life, progress, chemicals, genetically modified foods, and more? Or will it be the National Pest Management Association, The Farm Bureau, Croplife America or Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment, who are responsible for defending the nation against insects, disease and starvation?

Let's now deal with the slaughter of bats - which are all protected - and birds - many of which are protected or endangered. It's the green movement that must take responsibility for their slaughter through their promotion of wind energy.  Bats are killed extensively by the low-pressure air pockets created around the swirling blades of the turbines cause bats' lungs to implode, instantly killing them”.

This is a direct result of following the same idiotic green energy production ideas that failed under Jimmy Carter, and another lack of consistent thinking that should concern everyone. These Cuisinarts are causing massive slaughters worldwide of protected birds and bats; massively larger than environmentalists claimed was being caused by DDT (which was a lie and doesn’t kill bats at all) and the government has given them a pass!

As I pointed out in my article, "Green Power and Precautionary Double Standards”;We absolutely know these monsters are killing at least 573,000 birds every year, including some 83,000 eagles, hawks and other raptors - in clear violation of US laws. Other estimates put the toll at closer to 13,000,000 birds and bats annually. Why are the "precautionary" activists stone-cold silent about that? Why? Because “unintentional kills are to be expected”! If you killed a bald eagle in an “unintentional” accident would you get the same kind of pass? No! Because this double standard is deliberate.

(Editor's Note:  Since this article was published some have finally stepped up, but they also fail in consistent thinking because they're willing to accept kills in smaller numbers.)

What about butterfly protection? That is nothing more than a direct attack on genetically modified crops.  In reality there’s no real evidence GMO’s impact butterflies negatively, except for a Cornell study in 1999, and even the author, Professor John Losey, noted the study was a "laboratory study” and not to be taken too seriously against real world activity. The butterflies in the study were forced to feed on corn pollen, which proved something entomologists already knew – Bt enhanced corn pollen can kill Monarchs. Apparently he doesn’t believe this study lays ground work for any real concern saying; "our study was conducted in the laboratory and, while it raises an important issue, it would be inappropriate to draw any conclusions about the risk to Monarch populations in the field based solely on these initial results."

In the real world Monarch butterflies don’t like, and generally don’t eat corn pollen, or anything corn pollen rests on if given other options. As for Bt enhanced corn pollen landing on other plants such as milkweed - it had better be right next to the corn field since corn pollen is heavy and doesn’t travel far, and there is very little milkweed around corn fields. Also the study did not display how much Monarchs would have to eat to be harmed or how much exposure there would have to be to Bt in the real world.

Steve Milloy notes other scientist who’ve weighed in on this subject saying:

·         Warren Douglas Stevens, senior curator of the Missouri Botanical Garden, suspects that in a natural setting butterflies, which apparently don't like corn pollen, would avoid eating it if they encountered it on their food source.

·         Tom Turpin, professor of entomology at Purdue University, believes there is little threat to Monarch butterflies encountering Bt pollen on milkweed because there is very little milkweed in and around cornfields. Preliminary studies have shown that corn pollen, which is fairly heavy, does not travel very far.

·         John Foster, professor of entomology at the University of Nebraska, believes automobiles pose a greater risk to Monarchs than Bt corn.

However this Cornel study provoked a very real effort to discover what impact Bt enhanced corn pollen would have on Monarchs and answer the questions regarding dose and exposure by a “large informal group of scientists who came together in workshops held by ARS to discuss the questions" of dose and exposure. Their work demonstrated that:

“monarch caterpillars have to be exposed to pollen levels greater than 1,000 grains/cm to show toxic effects.

Caterpillars were found to be present on milkweed during the one to two weeks that pollen is shed by corn, but corn pollen levels on milkweed leaves were found to average only about 170 pollen grains/cm in corn fields.

Reports from several field studies show concentrations much lower than that even within the cornfield. In Maryland, the highest level of pollen deposition was inside and at the edge of the corn field, where pollen was found at about 50 grains/cm2. In the Nebraska study, pollen deposition ranged from 6 grains/cm2 at the field edge to less than 1 grain/cm2 beyond 10 meters. Samples collected from fields in Ontario immediately following the period of peak pollen shed showed pollen concentrations averaged 78 grains at the field edge.

In the Nebraska study, pollen deposition ranged from 6 grains at the field edg to less than 1 grain/cm beyond 10 meters. Samples collected from fields in Ontario immediately following the period of peak pollen shed showed pollen concentrations averaged 78 grains at the field edge.”

The conclusion arrived at by this group of scientists? "There is no significant risk to monarch butterflies from environmental exposure to Bt corn."

This play by the President is nothing more than activity as a substitute for accomplishment, with potentially other motives behind it. As for that $50 million the President has requested for the Department of Agriculture to create a public-private movement to reverse this trend -Does anyone really believe a dime will make it to the National Pest Management Association, The Farm Bureau, Croplife America, Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment or any other responsible group?   

No comments: