“A federal judge on September 24, 2020 dismissed an environmental lawsuit seeking to reinstate a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rule, killed by the Trump Administration, which banned the use of neonicotinoid insecticides, genetically engineered (GE) crops, and adopted a precautionary approach to pest management. The decision comes on the heels of a Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) analysis that reports a 34% increase in the pesticide use on U.S. national wildlife refuge acres over a two year period from 2016-2018.
In 2012, Beyond Pesticides and other environmental groups, led by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and Center for Food Safety, won a court battle to halt genetically engineered crops, and related herbicide-tolerant herbicides, on wildlife refuges in the southeast. This led to a grassroots campaign and public pressure from advocates and environmental groups, resulting in a FWS decision to adopt a national phase out of GE crops and ban neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticide use on national wildlife refuges. However, in 2018, FWS reversed the prohibition of GE crops and neonicotinoids via a memorandum, which allows the refuge system to make decisions on the use of GE crops and neonics on a case-by-case basis in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).”