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Maine Environmentalists Urge Ban on Pesticides Linked to Bee Die-offs

Nora Flaherty
Environment Maine's Andrew LaVogue urges that steps be taken to protect bee populations, at a Portland news conference Wednesday.

PORTLAND, Maine - With colony collapse disorder decimating honeybee colonies across the United States, environmentalists are looking to raise awareness of the problem.

At a Portland press conference this morning, Environment Maine's Andrew LaVogue said if something's not done, colony collapse could seriously impact the food supply.

"We rely on bees to pollinate 71 of the 100 crops that provide 90 percent of most of the world's food." LaVogue said.

Colony collapse has been closely linked with a class of insecticide called "neonicotinoids" - or neonics. Environment Maine is asking people to support its efforts to get neonics banned by the EPA.

"Building support to show the EPA that this is an issue people really do care about," LaVogue said. "You see that with local ordinances coming out of South Portland, Ogunquit, Portland now; and you do see that people do really care about this, people really do want to save the bees."

Ogunquit was the first town in Maine to ban use of chemical pesticides town-wide, in 2014. Several other towns and cities have also passed or considered similar ordinances.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering taking action on neonics; but it's a long process and not scheduled to be finished until at least next year. Several neonics are already banned in the European Union.

Nora is originally from the Boston area but has lived in Chicago, Michigan, New York City and at the northern tip of New York state. Nora began working in public radio at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor and has been an on-air host, a reporter, a digital editor, a producer, and, when they let her, played records.