In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Rep. Markey (D-Mass.) asked for an explanation of EPA’s pursuance of an adequate scientific understanding on how neonicitinoids and other pesticides are affecting honeybees and other pollinators. The letter comes in the wake of EPA’s denial of a petition by beekeepers and environmental groups to suspend the registration of clothianidin because of a lack of sufficient evidence.

The Markey letter cites some recent activity on neonicotinoid research, including two studies published in Science in April that claimed a link between declining bee colony health and neonicotinoid exposure. Markey included six questions in the letter, including one that asks what are the interim steps that EPA could take to limit or restrict the use of all or specific neonicitinoids. He requested a response by Sept. 9.

On July 26, Sens. Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Leahy (D-Vt.) and Whitehouse (D-R.I.) also wrote to Jackson asking for an expedited review of the neonicotinoids. Re-registrations of clothianidin and thiamethoxam, both neonicotinoids, are not scheduled to be completed until 2018, but in the letter, the Senators say they expect EPA will come to a conclusion on all neonicotinoids by 2013.

EPA recently has made public a draft proposal for assessing risk assessments for bees. The proposal will be evaluated by a Scientific Advisory Panel in September.